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How Do Gasoline Prices Affect Fleet Fuel Economy?

  • Shanjun Li
  • Christopher Timmins
  • Roger H. von Haefen

Exploiting a rich dataset of passenger vehicle registrations in 20 US MSAs from 1997 to 2005, we examine the effects of gasoline prices on the automotive fleet's composition. We find that high gasoline prices affect fleet fuel economy through two channels: shifting new auto purchases towards more fuel-efficient vehicles, and speeding the scrappage of older, less fuel-efficient used vehicles. Policy simulations suggest that a 10 percent increase in gasoline prices from 2005 levels will generate a 0.22 percent increase in fleet fuel economy in the short run and a 2.04 percent increase in the long run. (JEL H25, L11, L69, L71)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/pol.1.2.113
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 113-37

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:1:y:2009:i:2:p:113-37
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.1.2.113
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  1. Alan Greenspan & Darrel Cohen, 1999. "Motor Vehicle Stocks, Scrappage, And Sales," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 369-383, August.
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  6. Brown, Jennifer & Hastings, Justine & Mansur, Erin T. & Villas-Boas, Sofia B, 2007. "Reformulating Competition? Gasoline Content Regulation and Wholesale Gasoline Prices," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt9v59q1ck, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  7. Parry, Ian W.H. & Walls, Margaret & Harrington, Winston, 2007. "Automobile Externalities and Policies," Discussion Papers dp-06-26, Resources For the Future.
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  9. Anna Alberini & Winston Harrington & Virginia McConnell, 1995. "Determinants of Participation in Accelerated Vehicle-Retirement Programs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(1), pages 93-112, Spring.
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  14. Robert W. Hahn, 1995. "An Economic Analysis of Scrappage," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 222-242, Summer.
  15. Jonathan Haughton & Soumodip Sarkar, 1996. "Gasoline Tax as a Corrective Tax: Estimates for the United States, 1970-1991," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 103-126.
  16. William C. Wheaton, 1982. "The Long-Run Structure of Transportation and Gasoline Demand," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 439-454, Autumn.
  17. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
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  21. Jean Agras & Duane Chapman, 1999. "The Kyoto Protocol, Cafe Standards, And Gasoline Taxes," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(3), pages 296-308, 07.
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