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Mind the Gap: The Vicious Circle of Measuring Automobile Fuel Use

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Author Info

  • Schipper, Lee
  • Figueroa, Maria J.
  • Price, Lynn
  • Espey, Molly

Abstract

We review the circularity between estimates of automobile use, fuel consumption and fuel intensity. We find that major gaps exist between estimates of road gasoline, the quantity most often used to represent automobile fuel use in economic studies of transport fuel use, and the actual sales data of gasoline, diesel and other fuels used for automobiles. We note that significant uncertainties exist in values of both the number of automobiles in use and the distance each is driven, which together yield total automobile use. We present our own calculations for total automobile fuel use for a variety of OECD countries. We comment briefly on the impact of these gaps on econometric estimates of the price and income elasticities of automobile fuel use. We show that improper use of the circularity often leads to gross errors in estimating fuel intensity and other indicators of energy use for personal transport.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of California Transportation Center in its series University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers with number qt06n8g4x9.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 1993
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:uctcwp:qt06n8g4x9

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Keywords: Automobiles; Fuel use; Fuel intensity; Social and Behavioral Sciences;

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Cited by:
  1. Mohcine Bakhat & Jaume Roselló, 2011. "Tourism Induced Contribution to Diesel Oil and Gasoline Consumption," Working Papers 05-2011, Economics for Energy.
  2. Michaelis, Laurie & Davidson, Ogunlade, 1996. "GHG mitigation in the transport sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(10-11), pages 969-984.
  3. Rosa M. González-Marrero & Rosa M. Lorenzo-Alegría & Gustavo A. Marrero, 2011. "Gasoline and Diesel Consumption for Road Transport in Spain: a Dynamic Panel Data Approach," Economic Reports 04-2011, FEDEA.
  4. Daly, Hannah E. & Ó Gallachóir, Brian P., 2011. "Modelling future private car energy demand in Ireland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 7815-7824.
  5. Hymel, Kent M. & Small, Kenneth A. & Dender, Kurt Van, 2010. "Induced demand and rebound effects in road transport," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1220-1241, December.
  6. Greening, Lorna A., 2004. "Effects of human behavior on aggregate carbon intensity of personal transportation: comparison of 10 OECD countries for the period 1970-1993," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-30, January.
  7. Kwon, Tae-Hyeong, 2006. "The determinants of the changes in car fuel efficiency in Great Britain (1978-2000)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(15), pages 2405-2412, October.
  8. Ruzzenenti, F. & Basosi, R., 2009. "Evaluation of the energy efficiency evolution in the European road freight transport sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 4079-4085, October.
  9. Lynn Price & Laurie Michaelis & Ernst Worrell & Marta Khrushch, 1998. "Sectoral Trends and Driving Forces of Global Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 263-319, December.
  10. Kiang, Nancy & Schipper, Lee, 1996. "Energy trends in the Japanese transportation sector," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 3(1-2), pages 21-35.
  11. Sorrell, Steve & Dimitropoulos, John & Sommerville, Matt, 2009. "Empirical estimates of the direct rebound effect: A review," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1356-1371, April.
  12. Sterner, Thomas, 2007. "Fuel taxes: An important instrument for climate policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 3194-3202, June.
  13. Espey, Molly, 1998. "Gasoline demand revisited: an international meta-analysis of elasticities," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 273-295, June.
  14. Sorrell, Steve & Lehtonen, Markku & Stapleton, Lee & Pujol, Javier & Champion, Toby, 2009. "Decomposing road freight energy use in the United Kingdom," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 3115-3129, August.
  15. Sheinbaum-Pardo, Claudia & Chávez-Baeza, Carlos, 2011. "Fuel economy of new passenger cars in Mexico: Trends from 1988 to 2008 and prospects," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 8153-8162.
  16. Henriques, Sofia Teives & Kander, Astrid, 2010. "The modest environmental relief resulting from the transition to a service economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 271-282, December.
  17. Dowlatabadi, Hadi & Lave, Lester B & Russell, Armistead G, 1996. "A free lunch at higher CAFE? A review of economic, environmental and social benefits," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 253-264, March.
  18. Espey, Molly, 1996. "Watching the fuel gauge: An international model of automobile fuel economy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1-2), pages 93-106, April.

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