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Fuel tax incidence and supply conditions

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  • Marion, Justin
  • Muehlegger, Erich

Abstract

The incidence of taxes on consumers and producers plays a central role in evaluating energy tax policy, yet the literature testing the main predictions of the tax incidence model is sparse. In this paper, we examine the pass-through rate of state gasoline and diesel taxes to retail prices, and importantly we estimate the dependence of pass-through on factors constraining the gasoline and diesel supply chains. We consider several factors that alter the elasticity of supply, including within state heterogeneity in gasoline content requirements, refinery capacity utilization, inventory constraints, and variation in the demand for untaxed uses of diesel. In general, we find that in periods of time when the supply chain is constrained, and the constraint is plausibly unrelated to shifts in demand, the pass-through rate of fuel taxes declines. We describe several potential implications for tax policy, including tax breaks during peak driving season and during times of supply disruptions such as after major hurricanes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 95 (2011)
Issue (Month): 9 ()
Pages: 1202-1212

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:9:p:1202-1212

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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Keywords: Tax incidence; Gasoline; Fuel supply;

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References

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  1. Bushnell, James & Chong, Howard G. & Mansur, Erin T., 2009. "Profiting from Regulation: An Event Study of the EU Carbon Market," Staff General Research Papers 13139, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Devereux, M.P. & Lockwood, B. & Redoano, M., 2007. "Horizontal and vertical indirect tax competition: Theory and some evidence from the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 451-479, April.
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  4. Joel Slemrod & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 2000. "Tax Avoidance, Evasion, and Administration," NBER Working Papers 7473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Inventories and the Short-Run Dynamics of Commodity Prices," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(1), pages 141-159, Spring.
  7. Erich J. Muehlegger, 2004. "Gasoline Price Spikes and Regional Gasoline Content Regulations - A Structural Approach," Working Papers 0421, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  8. Justin Marion & Erich Muehlegger, 2008. "Measuring Illegal Activity and the Effects of Regulatory Innovation: Tax Evasion and the Dyeing of Untaxed Diesel," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 633-666, 08.
  9. James Alm & Edward Sennoga & Mark Skidmore, 2009. "Perfect Competition, Urbanization, And Tax Incidence In The Retail Gasoline Market," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(1), pages 118-134, 01.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Li, Shanjun & Linn, Joshua & Muehlegger, Erich, 2012. "Gasoline Taxes and Consumer Behavior," Working Paper Series rwp12-006, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  2. Mark J. Holmes & Jesús Otero & Theodore Panagiotidis, 2012. "On the Dynamics of Gasoline Market Integration in the United States: Evidence from a Pair-Wise Approach," Working Paper Series 68_12, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  3. Kolodzeij, Marek & Kaufmann, Robert.K., 2014. "Oil demand shocks reconsidered: A cointegrated vector autoregression," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 33-40.
  4. Mario Jametti & Agustin Redonda & Anindya Sen, 2013. "The Power to Pass on Taxes - A Test for Tax Shifting based on Observables," Quaderni della facoltà di Scienze economiche dell'Università di Lugano 1301, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
  5. Chiou, Lesley & Muehlegger, Eric, 2010. "Consumer Response to Cigarette Excise Tax Changes," Working Paper Series rwp10-020, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  6. Thomas Klier & Joshua Linn, 2011. "Fuel Prices and New Vehicle Fuel Economy in Europe," Working Papers 1117, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  7. Webster, Allan & Ayatakshi, Sukanya, 2013. "The effect of fossil energy and other environmental taxes on profit incentives for change in an open economy: Evidence from the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1422-1431.
  8. Tuomas Kosonen, 2013. "More haircut after VAT cut? On the efficiency of service sector consumption taxes," Working Papers 49, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  9. Nicholas Rivers & Brandon Schaufele, 2012. "Carbon Tax Salience and Gasoline Demand," Working Papers 1211E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  10. Klier, Thomas & Linn, Joshua, 2013. "Fuel prices and new vehicle fuel economy—Comparing the United States and Western Europe," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 280-300.
  11. Daniel H. Cooper & Byron F. Lutz & Michael G. Palumbo, 2012. "Quantifying the role of federal and state taxes in mitigating wage inequality," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-05, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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