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Are Energy Efficiency Standards Justified?

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  • Parry, Ian W.H.

    ()
    (Resources for the Future)

  • Evans, David A.
  • Oates, Wallace E.

Abstract

This paper develops and parameterizes an overarching analytical framework to estimate the welfare effects of energy efficiency standards applied to automobiles and electricity-using durables. We also compare standards with sectoral and economywide pricing policies. The model captures a wide range of externalities and preexisting energy policies, and it allows for possible “misperceptions”—market failures that cause underinvestment in energy efficiency.Automobile fuel economy standards are not part of the first-best policy to reduce gasoline: fuel taxes are always superior because they reduce the externalities related to vehicle miles traveled. For the power sector, potential welfare gains from supplementing pricing instruments with efficiency standards are small at best. If pricing instruments are not feasible, a large misperceptions failure is required to justify efficiency standards, and even in this case the optimal reductions in fuel and electricity use are relatively modest. Reducing economywide carbon dioxide emissions through regulatory packages (combining efficiency and emissions standards) involves much higher costs than pricing instruments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-10-59.

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Date of creation: 23 Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-10-59

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Keywords: standards; energy taxes; market failure; climate; power sector; gasoline;

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References

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  1. Hassett, Kevin A. & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1995. "Energy tax credits and residential conservation investment: Evidence from panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 201-217, June.
  2. Fischer, Carolyn & Fox, Alan K., 2009. "Comparing Policies to Combat Emissions Leakage: Border Tax Adjustments versus Rebates," Discussion Papers dp-09-02, Resources For the Future.
  3. Gillingham, Kenneth & Newell, Richard G. & Palmer, Karen, 2009. "Energy Efficiency Economics and Policy," Discussion Papers dp-09-13, Resources For the Future.
  4. Parry, Ian & Small, Kenneth, 2002. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," Discussion Papers dp-02-12-, Resources For the Future.
  5. Burtraw, Dallas & Parry, Ian & Goulder, Lawrence & Williams III, Roberton, 1998. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Alternative Instruments for Environmental Protection in a Second-Best Setting," Discussion Papers dp-98-22, Resources For the Future.
  6. Austin, David & Dinan, Terry, 2005. "Clearing the air: The costs and consequences of higher CAFE standards and increased gasoline taxes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 562-582, November.
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  8. 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.
  9. Parry, Ian & Fischer, Carolyn & Harrington, Winston, 2004. "Should Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards Be Tightened?," Discussion Papers dp-04-53, Resources For the Future.
  10. B. Howarth, Richard & Haddad, Brent M. & Paton, Bruce, 2000. "The economics of energy efficiency: insights from voluntary participation programs," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 477-486, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rozenberg, Julie & Vogt-Schilb, Adrien & Hallegatte, Stephane, 2014. "Transition to clean capital, irreversible investment and stranded assets," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6859, The World Bank.
  2. Hunt Allcott & Michael Greenstone, 2012. "Is There an Energy Efficiency Gap?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 3-28, Winter.
  3. Tsvetan Tsvetanov & Kathleen Segerson, 2011. "Re-Evaluating the Role of Energy Efficiency Standards: A Time-Consistent Behavioral Economics Approach," Working Papers 07, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
  4. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen L., 2013. "Mixing It Up: Power Sector Energy and Regional and Regulatory Climate Policies in the Presence of a Carbon Tax," Discussion Papers dp-13-09, Resources For the Future.
  5. Klier, Thomas & Linn, Joshua, 2011. "Fuel Prices and New Vehicle Fuel Economy in Europe," Discussion Papers dp-11-37, Resources For the Future.
  6. Gillingham, Kenneth & Palmer, Karen, 2013. "Bridging the Energy Efficiency Gap: Policy Insights from Economic Theory and Empirical Evidence," Discussion Papers dp-13-02-rev, Resources For the Future.
  7. Tsvetan Tsvetanov & Kathleen Segerson, 2011. "Re-Evaluating the Role of Energy Efficiency Standards: A Time-Consistent Behavioral Economics Approach," Working papers 2011-24, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  8. Ian W.H. Parry & John Norregaard & Dirk Heine, 2012. "Environmental Tax Reform," IMF Working Papers 12/180, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Parry, Ian W.H. & Timilsina, Govinda R., 2012. "Demand side instruments to reduce road transportation externalities in the greater Cairo metropolitan area," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6083, The World Bank.

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