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Is Arbitrage Tying the Price of Ethanol to that of Gasoline? Evidence from the Uptake of Flexible-Fuel Technology

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  • Alberto Salvo
  • Cristian Huse

Abstract

Brazil is the only sizable economy to date to have developed a homegrown ubiquitously-retailed alternative to fossil fuels in light road transportation: ethanol from sugar cane. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the uptake of flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs) has been tremendous. Five years after their introduction, FFVs accounted for 90% of new car sales and 30% of the circulating car stock. We provide a stylized model of the sugar/ethanol industry which incorporates substitution by consumers, across ethanol and gasoline at the pump, and substitution by producers, across domestic regional and export markets for ethanol and sugar. We argue that the model stands up well to the empirical co-movement in prices at the pump in a panel of Brazilian states. The paper offers a case study of how agricultural and energy markets link up at the very micro level.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): Volume 32 (2011)
Issue (Month): Number 3 ()
Pages: 119-148

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Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:32-3-a05

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Cited by:
  1. Huse, Cristian, 2014. "Fast and Furious (and Dirty): How Asymmetric Regulation May Hinder Environmental Policy," MPRA Paper 48909, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Juliano Assuncao & Joao Paulo Pessoa & Leonardo Rezende, 2013. "Flex Cars and Competition in Ethanol and Gasoline Retail Markets," CEP Discussion Papers dp1251, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Du, Xiaodong & Carriquiry, Miguel A., 2013. "Flex-fuel vehicle adoption and dynamics of ethanol prices: lessons from Brazil," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 507-512.
  4. Huse, Cristian & Lucinda, Claudio, 2013. "The Market Impact and the Cost of Environmental Policy: Evidence from the Swedish Green Car Rebate," MPRA Paper 48905, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Nathan C. Parker, 2011. "Some Inconvenient Truths About Climate Change Policy: The Distributional Impacts of Transportation Policies," Working Papers 1116, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  6. Demirer, Rıza & Kutan, Ali M. & Shen, Fanglin, 2012. "The effect of ethanol listing on corn prices: Evidence from spot and futures markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1400-1406.
  7. Francisco Peñaranda & Augusto Rupérez Micola, 2011. "On the drivers of commodity co-movement: Evidence from biofuels," FMG Discussion Papers dp695, Financial Markets Group.
  8. Soren T. Anderson, 2010. "The Demand for Ethanol as a Gasoline Substitute," NBER Working Papers 16371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jose Cantos & Robert Dixon, 2014. "Impacts of bioethanol on gasoline prices in the Philippines: an econometric analysis," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 1-13, January.

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