Car User Taxes, Quality Characteristics and Fuel Efficiency: Household Behavior and Market Adjustment
AbstractWe study the impact of fuel taxes and kilometer taxes on households' choices of vehicle quality, on their demand for kilometers driven, and on fuel consumption. Moreover, embedding this information in a model of the car market, we analyze the implications of these taxes for the opportunity costs of owning cars of different quality. Higher quality raises the fixed cost of car ownership, but it may raise (engine size, acceleration speed, etc.) or reduce (fuel technology, etc.) the variable user cost. Our results show that kilometer charges and fuel taxes have very different implications. For example, a higher fuel tax raises household demand for more fuel efficient cars, provided that the demand for car use is inelastic; it reduces the demand for characteristics that raise variable user costs. Surprisingly, however, a kilometer tax unambiguously reduces the demand for more fuel efficient cars. Incorporating price adjustments at the market level, we find that fuel taxes raise the marginal fixed opportunity cost of better fuel efficiency at all quality levels. Total annual opportunity costs of owning highly fuel efficient cars increase, while they decline for cars of low fuel efficiency. We further find that both a fuel tax and a kilometer charge reduce the total annual fixed ownership cost for car attributes that raise the variable cost of driving (engine power, acceleration speed, etc.). There is thus in general a trade-off between fixed and variable car costs: if the latter increase - due to higher fuel prices or a kilometer charge - total demand for cars decreases and a return to equilibrium is only possible by a decrease in fixed costs. All theoretical results are illustrated using a numerical version of the model. The analysis shows that modeling the effect of tax changes on household behavior alone can produce highly misleading results.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 12-122/VIII.
Date of creation: 16 Nov 2012
Date of revision: 17 Jun 2013
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl
car market; car quality; fuel tax; kilometer charge; market equilibrium;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
- L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-12-06 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENE-2012-12-06 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-PBE-2012-12-06 (Public Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2012-12-06 (Public Finance)
- NEP-TRE-2012-12-06 (Transport Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Thomas H. Klier & Joshua Linn, 2009. "The price of gasoline and the demand for fuel economy: evidence from monthly new vehicles sales data," Working Paper Series WP-09-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- Kahn, James A, 1986. "Gasoline Prices and the Used Automobile Market: A Rational Expectations Asset Price Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(2), pages 323-39, May.
- Kenneth A. Small & Kurt Van Dender, 2007.
"Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect,"
The Energy Journal,
International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 25-52.
- Kenneth A. Small & Kurt Van Dender, 2006. "Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect," Working Papers 050603, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
- Meghan R. Busse & Christopher R. Knittel & Florian Zettelmeyer, 2009. "Pain at the Pump: The Differential Effect of Gasoline Prices on New and Used Automobile Markets," NBER Working Papers 15590, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bhat, Chandra R., 2008. "The multiple discrete-continuous extreme value (MDCEV) model: Role of utility function parameters, identification considerations, and model extensions," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 274-303, March.
- Bhat, Chandra R. & Sen, Sudeshna, 2006. "Household vehicle type holdings and usage: an application of the multiple discrete-continuous extreme value (MDCEV) model," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 35-53, January.
- Fullerton, Don & West, Sarah E., 2002.
"Can Taxes on Cars and on Gasoline Mimic an Unavailable Tax on Emissions?,"
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management,
Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 135-157, January.
- Don Fullerton & Sarah West, 1999. "Can Taxes on Cars and on Gasoline Mimic an Unavailable Tax on Emissions?," NBER Working Papers 7059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Parry, Ian W.H. & Bento, Antonio Miguel R., 1999.
"Revenue recycling and the welfare effects of road pricing,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
2253, The World Bank.
- Parry, Ian W H & Bento, Antonio, 2001. " Revenue Recycling and the Welfare Effects of Road Pricing," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(4), pages 645-71, December.
- Parry, Ian & Bento, Antonio, 1999. "Revenue Recycling and the Welfare Effects of Road Pricing," Discussion Papers dp-99-45, Resources For the Future.
- Bhat, Chandra R., 2005. "A multiple discrete-continuous extreme value model: formulation and application to discretionary time-use decisions," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 679-707, September.
- Maxim Engers & Monica Hartmann & Steven Stern, 2009. "Annual miles drive used car prices," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 1-33.
- Don Fullerton & Li Gan, 2005.
"Cost-Effective Policies to Reduce Vehicle Emissions,"
NBER Working Papers
11174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Don Fullerton & Li Gan, 2005. "Cost-Effective Policies to Reduce Vehicle Emissions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 300-304, May.
- De Jong, G. C., 1990. "An indirect utility model of car ownership and private car use," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 971-985, July.
- Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1993. "A Structural Model of Peak-Period Congestion: A Traffic Bottleneck with Elastic Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 161-79, March.
- De Borger, Bruno & Mayeres, Inge, 2007. "Optimal taxation of car ownership, car use and public transport: Insights derived from a discrete choice numerical optimization model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1177-1204, July.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Antoine Maartens (+31 626 - 160 892)).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.