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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucas W. Davis, 2014. "The Economic Cost of Global Fuel Subsidies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 581-585, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:5:p:581-85
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.5.581
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Morakinyo O. Adetutu & Thomas G. Weyman-Jones, 2019. "Fuel Subsidies Versus Market Power: Is There a Countervailing Second-Best Optimum?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 74(4), pages 1619-1646, December.
    2. Soren T. Anderson & James M. Sallee, 2016. "Designing Policies to Make Cars Greener: A Review of the Literature," NBER Working Papers 22242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jun Rentschler & Morgan Bazilian, 2017. "Policy Monitor—Principles for Designing Effective Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reforms," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(1), pages 138-155.
    4. Stéphane Gauthier & Fanny Henriet, 2018. "A Fuel Tax Decomposition When Local Pollution Matters," Working Papers halshs-01826330, HAL.
    5. Corrado Di Maria & Sjak Smulders & Edwin Werf, 2017. "Climate Policy with Tied Hands: Optimal Resource Taxation Under Implementation Lags," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 66(3), pages 537-551, March.
    6. Burke, Paul J. & Kurniawati, Sandra, 2018. "Electricity subsidy reform in Indonesia: Demand-side effects on electricity use," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 410-421.
    7. Grainger,Corbett Alden & Zhang,Fan & Schreiber,Andrew William, 2015. "Distributional impacts of energy cross-subsidization in transition economies : evidence from Belarus," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7385, The World Bank.
    8. Grainger, Corbett & Schreiber, Andrew & Zhang, Fan, 2019. "Distributional impacts of energy-heat cross-subsidization," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 65-81.
    9. Dutu, Richard, 2016. "Challenges and policies in Indonesia's energy sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 513-519.
    10. Lucas W. Davis, 2017. "The Environmental Cost of Global Fuel Subsidies," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(KAPSARC S).
    11. Monasterolo, Irene & Raberto, Marco, 2019. "The impact of phasing out fossil fuel subsidies on the low-carbon transition," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 355-370.
    12. Ghoddusi, Hamed & Rafizadeh, Nima & Rahmati, Mohammad H., 2018. "Price elasticity of gasoline smuggling: A semi-structural estimation approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 171-185.
    13. Ferraresi, Massimiliano & Kotsogiannis, Christos & Rizzo, Leonzio, 2018. "Decentralization and fuel subsidies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 275-286.
    14. Joel E. Smith & Johannes Urpelainen, 2017. "Removing fuel subsidies: How can international organizations support national policy reforms?," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 327-340, June.
    15. Akimaya, Muhammad & Dahl, Carol, 2017. "Simulation of price controls for different grade of gasoline: The case of Indonesia," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 373-382.
    16. Di Maria, Corrado & Smulders, Sjak, 2017. "A paler shade of green: Environmental policy under induced technical change," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 151-169.
    17. Christiane Baumeister & James D. Hamilton, 2019. "Structural Interpretation of Vector Autoregressions with Incomplete Identification: Revisiting the Role of Oil Supply and Demand Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(5), pages 1873-1910, May.
    18. Arzaghi, Mohammad & Squalli, Jay, 2015. "How price inelastic is demand for gasoline in fuel-subsidizing economies?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 117-124.
    19. Cécile Couharde & Sara Mouhoud, 2018. "Fossil fuel subsidies, income inequality and poverty. Evidence from developing countries," EconomiX Working Papers 2018-42, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    20. Chebbi, Ali, 2019. "How to enlarge the fiscal space and gain efficiency when adopting automatic fuel pricing mechanisms? The Tunisian case," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 34-43.
    21. Mendoza, Miguel Ángel, 2014. "Panorama preliminar de los subsidios y los impuestos a las gasolinas y diésel en los países de América Latina," Documentos de Proyectos 641, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    22. Kheiravar, Khaled H, 2019. "Economic and Econometric Analyses of the World Petroleum Industry, Energy Subsidies, and Air Pollution," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt3gj151w9, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    23. Siddig,Khalid & Minor,Peter J. & Grethe,Harald & Aguiar,Angel & Walmsley,Terrie Louise, 2015. "Impacts on poverty of removing fuel import subsidies in Nigeria," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7376, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q31 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q35 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Hydrocarbon Resources
    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)

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