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Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect

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  • Kenneth A. Small
  • Kurt Van Dender

Abstract

We estimate the rebound effect for motor vehicles, by which improved fuel efficiency causes additional travel, using a pooled cross section of US states for 1966-2001. Our model accounts for endogenous changes in fuel efficiency, distinguishes between autocorrelation and lagged effects, includes a measure of the stringency of fuel-economy standards, and allows the rebound effect to vary with income, urbanization, and the fuel cost of driving. At sample averages of variables, our simultaneous-equations estimates of the short- and long-run rebound effect are 4.5% and 22.2%. But rising real income caused it to diminish substantially over the period, aided by falling fuel prices. With variables at 1997-2001 levels, our estimates are only 2.2% and 10.7%, considerably smaller than values typically assumed for policy analysis. With income and starting fuel efficiency at 1997-2001 levels and fuel prices 58 percent higher, the estimates are still only 3.1% and 15.3%, respectively.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by International Association for Energy Economics in its journal The Energy Journal.

Volume (Year): Volume 28 (2007)
Issue (Month): Number 1 ()
Pages: 25-52

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Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:2007v28-01-a02

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  1. Robert Cervero & Mark Hansen, 2002. "Induced Travel Demand and Induced Road Investment: A Simultaneous Equation Analysis," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and University of Bath, vol. 36(3), pages 469-490, September.
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