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Greenhouse Gas Reductions under Low Carbon Fuel Standards?

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Listed:
  • Stephen P. Holland
  • Jonathan E. Hughes
  • Christopher R. Knittel

Abstract

A low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by limiting the carbon intensity of fuels. We show this decreases high carbon fuel production but increases low carbon fuel production, possibly increasing net carbon emissions. The LCFS cannot be efficient, and the best LCFS may be nonbinding. We simulate a national LCFS on gasoline and ethanol. For a broad parameter range, emissions decrease, energy prices increase, abatement costs are large ($80 - $760 billion annually), and average abatement costs are large ($307 - $2,272 per CO2 metric ton). A cost effective policy has much lower average abatement costs ($60 - $868). (JEL Q54, Q58)

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel, 2009. "Greenhouse Gas Reductions under Low Carbon Fuel Standards?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 106-146, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:1:y:2009:i:1:p:106-46 Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.1.1.106
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Espey, Molly, 1998. "Gasoline demand revisited: an international meta-analysis of elasticities," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 273-295, June.
    2. Paul R. Portney & Ian W.H. Parry & Howard K. Gruenspecht & Winston Harrington, 2003. "Policy Watch: The Economics of Fuel Economy Standards," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 203-217, Fall.
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    4. Farrell, Alexander & Sperling, Daniel, 2007. "A Low-Carbon Fuel Standard for California, Part 1: Technical Analysis," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt5245b5kx, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
    5. Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Daniel Sperling, 2008. "Evidence of a Shift in the Short-Run Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 113-134.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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