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Tim Carney raises the hood on government-imposed fuel-efficiency regulations and finds that not all is as it appears by gazing only at the well-polished outside of this vehicle. A slice:

Then there’s the aluminum lobby. The Aluminum Association has been lobbying on fuel economy standards, lobbying disclosures show. For many parts, carmakers choose between aluminum and steel. Aluminum is lighter weight and more expensive. Fuel-efficiency mandates push carmakers toward aluminum components over steel ones.

This tells us two things about the hidden costs of these regulations. First, it reminds us that these regulations make cars more expensive to make and thus to buy. This is normal for environmental regulations.

Second, it reminds us that the manufacture of lighter-weight cars can actually cause higher greenhouse gas emissions than the manufacture of heavier cars. The high-heat smelting process involved in aluminum uses tons of energy, and the chemical process that follows inevitably gives off potent greenhouse gases. So measuring the tailpipe emissions only, as the U.S. rules do, misses much of the environmental impact of using aluminum to comply with fuel economy standards.

My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy discusses universal basic income.

J.W. Verret – a GMU colleague of mine from over in the law school – applauds, as a move in the right direction, the Trump administration’s restructuring of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Here’s Alberto Mingardi on the current crisis in Italy.

Art Carden warns against the all-too-common shallow thinking about minimum-wage legislation.

Bob Higgs looks back on his years as a graduate student, during the 1960s, at Johns Hopkins University.

Eric Boehm is rightly critical of Trump’s latest, absurd policy change on trade with China.