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Technological Change, Vehicle Characteristics, and the Opportunity Costs of Fuel Economy Standards

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  • Klier, Thomas
  • Linn, Joshua

    ()
    (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

Many countries are tightening passenger vehicle fuel economy standards. In assessing the welfare effects of standards, the literature has not properly accounted either for their effects on the rate of technology adoption, or for improvements in vehicle characteristics in the absence of tightening standards. A dynamic model shows that accounting for both factors has ambiguous effects on estimated welfare costs. We find that recent US and European standards have affected the rate of technology adoption as well as horsepower and torque. Estimated welfare losses from reduced horsepower and torque are of similar magnitude to the welfare gains from fuel savings.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-13-40.

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Date of creation: 16 Dec 2013
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-13-40

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Keywords: passenger vehicles; US greenhouse gas emissions rate standards; European carbon dioxide emissions rate standards; technology adoption;

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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Leonardo Bursztyn & David Hemous, 2010. "The Environment and Directed Technical Change," Working Papers 2010.93, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  2. Greene, David L, 1991. "Short-run Pricing Strategies to Increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(1), pages 101-14, January.
  3. Bento, Antonio M. & Li, Shanjun & Roth, Kevin, 2010. "Is There an Energy Paradox in Fuel Economy? A Note on the Role of Consumer Heterogeneity and Sorting Bias," Discussion Papers dp-10-56, Resources For the Future.
  4. Meghan R. Busse & Christopher R. Knittel & Florian Zettelmeyer, 2013. "Are Consumers Myopic? Evidence from New and Used Car Purchases," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 220-56, February.
  5. Li, Shanjun & Linn, Joshua & Spiller, Elisheba, 2013. "Evaluating “Cash-for-Clunkers”: Program effects on auto sales and the environment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 175-193.
  6. Richard G. Newell & Adam B. Jaffe & Robert N. Stavins, 1998. "The Induced Innovation Hypothesis and Energy-Saving Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 6437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Whitefoot, Kate S. & Skerlos, Steven J., 2012. "Design incentives to increase vehicle size created from the U.S. footprint-based fuel economy standards," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 402-411.
  8. Joshua Linn, 2006. "Energy Prices and the Adoption of Energy-Saving Technology," Working Papers 0612, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  9. Christopher R. Knittel, 2011. "Automobiles on Steroids: Product Attribute Trade-Offs and Technological Progress in the Automobile Sector," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3368-99, December.
  10. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1998. "The Effects of the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards in the US," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 1-33, March.
  11. Thomas Klier & Joshua Linn, 2010. "The Price of Gasoline and New Vehicle Fuel Economy: Evidence from Monthly Sales Data," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 134-53, August.
  12. David Popp, 2002. "Induced Innovation and Energy Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 160-180, March.
  13. Hunt Allcott, 2013. "The Welfare Effects of Misperceived Product Costs: Data and Calibrations from the Automobile Market," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 30-66, August.
  14. Mark R. Jacobsen, 2013. "Evaluating US Fuel Economy Standards in a Model with Producer and Household Heterogeneity," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 148-87, May.
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