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Fuel Tax Incidence and Supply Conditions

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  • Marion, Justin

    (University of California, Santa Cruz)

  • Muehlegger, Erich

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

In this paper, we provide new evidence regarding the pass-through of diesel and gasoline taxes to prices, and how the estimated pass-through depends on a variety of supply conditions including a measure of state residual supply elasticity, and refinery and inventory constraints. In addition, we estimate the response of tax incidence to gasoline content regulations, which complicate the supply chain by increasing product heterogeneity. We find that state gasoline and diesel taxes are on average fully passed on to consumers. We also find that the pass-through of diesel taxes is greater in settings where untaxed uses of diesel are more important, which corresponds to times when residual supply is more elastic. We find that only half of the state diesel tax is passed on to consumers when U.S. refinery capacity utilization is above 95 percent. Gasoline taxes, on the other hand, are fully passed through regardless of season or capacity utilization, indicating that a gas tax holiday would provide price relief to consumers. We find that regional gasoline content regulations affect pass-through--we estimate tax pass-through is 22 percentage points lower in a state using two blends of gasoline than a state using one blend of gasoline.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp10-014.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp10-014

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  1. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002. "Tax avoidance, evasion, and administration," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1423-1470 Elsevier.
  2. 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.
  3. Devereux, Michael & Lockwood, Ben & Redoano, Michela, 2004. "Horizontal And Vertical Indirect Tax Competition : Theory And Some Evidence From The Usa," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 704, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. Pindyck, Robert S., 1990. "Inventories and the short-run dynamics of commodity prices," Working papers 3133-90., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  5. Muehlegger, Erich, 2006. "Gasoline Price Spikes and Regional Gasoline Content Regulation: A Structural Approach," Working Paper Series rwp06-015, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  6. Bushnell, James & Mansur, Erin T. & Chong, Howard G., 2010. "Profiting from Regulation: An Event Study of the EU Carbon Market," Staff General Research Papers 32737, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  7. Chernick, Howard & Reschovsky, Andrew, 1997. "Who Pays the Gasoline Tax?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(2), pages 233-59, June.
  8. Hamilton, Stephen F., 1999. "Tax incidence under oligopoly: a comparison of policy approaches," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 233-245, February.
  9. repec:cdl:agrebk:5335 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. 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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Cited by:
  1. Klier, Thomas & Linn, Joshua, 2011. "Fuel Prices and New Vehicle Fuel Economy in Europe," Discussion Papers dp-11-37, Resources For the Future.
  2. Kolodzeij, Marek & Kaufmann, Robert.K., 2014. "Oil demand shocks reconsidered: A cointegrated vector autoregression," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 33-40.
  3. Holmes, Mark J. & Otero, Jesús & Panagiotidis, Theodore, 2013. "On the dynamics of gasoline market integration in the United States: Evidence from a pair-wise approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 503-510.
  4. 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).
  5. Shanjun Li & Joshua Linn & Erich Muehlegger, 2012. "Gasoline Taxes and Consumer Behavior," NBER Working Papers 17891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Natalia Fabra & Mar Reguant, 2013. "Pass-through of Emissions Costs in Electricity Markets," NBER Working Papers 19613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Mario Jametti & Agustin Redonda & Anindya Sen, 2013. "The Power to Pass on Taxes - A Test for Tax Shifting Based on Observables," CESifo Working Paper Series 4265, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. 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.).
  9. 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.
  10. Chiou, Lesley & Muehlegger, Erich J., 2010. "Consumer Response to Cigarette Excise Tax Changes," Scholarly Articles 4448875, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  11. Linn, Joshua, 2014. "Explaining the Adoption of Diesel Fuel Passenger Cars in Europe," Discussion Papers dp-14-08, Resources For the Future.
  12. 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.
  13. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Duncan, Denvil, 2014. "Tax Incidence in the Presence of Tax Evasion," IZA Discussion Papers 8137, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Nicholas Rivers & Brandon Schaufele, 2012. "Carbon Tax Salience and Gasoline Demand," Working Papers 1211E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  15. Wojciech Kopczuk & David J. Munroe, 2014. "Mansion Tax: The Effect of Transfer Taxes on the Residential Real Estate Market," NBER Working Papers 20084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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