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Using Tax Expenditures to Achieve Energy Policy Goals

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  • Gilbert E. Metcalf

Abstract

Tax expenditures are a major source of support for energy related activities in the federal budget exceeding direct budget support for energy by a factor of nearly six. Focusing on the policy goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum consumption, I find these tax expenditures highly cost ineffective at best and counterproductive at worse. The tax credit for ethanol is an example of a cost ineffective subsidy. The cost of reducing CO2 emissions through this subsidy exceeded $1,700 per ton of CO2 avoided in 2006 and the cost of reducing oil consumption over $85 per barrel.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13753.

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Date of creation: Jan 2008
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Publication status: published as Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2008. "Using Tax Expenditures to Achieve Energy Policy Goals," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 90-94, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13753

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  1. Ian W. H. Parry & Kenneth A. Small, 2005. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1276-1289, September.
  2. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2006. "Energy Conservation in the United States: Understanding its Role in Climate Policy," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0609, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
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Cited by:
  1. Li, Shanjun & Linn, Joshua & Spiller, Elisheba, 2010. "Evaluating “Cash-for-Clunkers”: Program Effect on Auto Sales, Jobs, and the Environment," Discussion Papers dp-10-39, Resources For the Future.
  2. Doug Auld, 2008. "The Ethanol Trap: Why Policies to Promote Ethanol as Fuel Need Rethinking," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 268, July.
  3. Guerriero, Carmine, 2013. "The political economy of incentive regulation: Theory and evidence from US states," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 91-107.
  4. Arik Levinson, 2010. "Belts and Suspenders: Interactions Among Climate Policy Regulations," NBER Working Papers 16109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Guerriero, Carmine, 2011. "Accountability in government and regulatory policies: Theory and evidence," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 453-469.

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