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Gas Prices, Traffic, and Freeway Speeds in Los Angeles

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Author Info

  • Nicholas E. Burger

    (RAND Corporation, Washington, DC)

  • Daniel T. Kaffine

    (Division of Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines)

Abstract

Using detailed data on traffic speeds for 12 Los Angeles freeway routes from 2001 to 2006, we investigate aggregate behavioral response to gasoline prices. If traffic is free flowing, drivers should slow to more fuel-efficient speeds as the price of gasoline rises. However, we find little evidence that drivers respond to increased fuel costs by slowing down. When congestion constrains traffic flow, freeway speeds should rise with gasoline price, and we find a $1.00 increase in price raises average freeway speeds by approximately 7% during rush-hour periods. Finally, we introduce a novel method to calculate the short-run vehicle miles traveled demand elasticity during rush hour. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 91 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 652-657

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:91:y:2009:i:3:p:652-657

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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Web: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journal-home.tcl?issn=00346535

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Cited by:
  1. Antonio M. Bento & Jonathan E. Hughes & Daniel T. Kaffine, 2012. "Carpooling and Driver Responses to Fuel Price Changes: Evidence from Traffic Flows in Los Angeles," Working Papers 2012-06, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
  2. Winston, Clifford & Yan, Jia, 2011. "Can privatization of U.S. highways improve motorists' welfare?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 993-1005, August.
  3. Jonathan E. Hughes & Daniel Kaffine, 2013. "When is Encouraging Consumption of Common Property Second Best? Sorting, Congestion and Entry in the Commons," Working Papers 2013-05, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
  4. Wolff, Hendrik, 2014. "Value of time: Speeding behavior and gasoline prices," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 71-88.
  5. Wolff, Hendrik, 2012. "Value of Time: Speeding Behavior and Gasoline Prices," IZA Discussion Papers 6788, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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