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Greenhouse Gas Reductions under Low Carbon Fuel Standards?

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  • 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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    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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