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The Economic Cost of Global Fuel Subsidies

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  • Lucas W. Davis

Abstract

By 2015, global oil consumption will reach 90 million barrels per day. In part, this high level of consumption reflects the fact that many countries provide subsidies for gasoline and diesel. This paper examines global fuel subsidies using the latest available data from the World Bank, finding that road-sector subsidies for gasoline and diesel totaled $110 billion in 2012. Pricing fuels below cost is inefficient because it leads to overconsumption. Under baseline assumptions about supply and demand elasticities, the total annual deadweight loss worldwide is $44 billion. Incorporating external costs increases the economic costs substantially.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19736.

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Date of creation: Dec 2013
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Publication status: published as Lucas W. Davis, 2014. "The Economic Cost of Global Fuel Subsidies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 581-85, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19736

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  1. Christopher R. Knittel, 2012. "Reducing Petroleum Consumption from Transportation," NBER Working Papers 17724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ian W. H. Parry & Margaret Walls & Winston Harrington, 2007. "Automobile Externalities and Policies," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(2), pages 373-399, June.
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