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Taxation and the asymmetric adjustment of selected retail energy prices in the UK


  • Greenwood-Nimmo, Matthew
  • Shin, Yongcheol


This paper investigates the adjustment of the prices of four key petroleum products in the UK following changes in the price of crude oil. We find significant evidence that the pre-tax prices of diesel, kerosene, and gas oil adjust more rapidly in an upward than a downward direction, but that the pre-tax price of unleaded petrol adjusts symmetrically. However, these patterns are obscured at the pump once one accounts for fuel duty and value-added tax, raising the possibility that firms can use the tax system to conceal rent-seeking behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Greenwood-Nimmo, Matthew & Shin, Yongcheol, 2013. "Taxation and the asymmetric adjustment of selected retail energy prices in the UK," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 411-416.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:121:y:2013:i:3:p:411-416 DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2013.09.020

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Severin Borenstein & Andrea Shepard, 2002. "Sticky Prices, Inventories, and Market Power in Wholesale Gasoline Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(1), pages 116-139, Spring.
    2. Reilly, Barry & Witt, Robert, 1998. "Petrol price asymmetries revisited," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 297-308, June.
    3. M. Hashem Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin & Richard J. Smith, 2001. "Bounds testing approaches to the analysis of level relationships," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 289-326.
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    5. Bacon, Robert W., 1991. "Rockets and feathers: the asymmetric speed of adjustment of UK retail gasoline prices to cost changes," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 211-218, July.
    6. Lance J. Bachmeier & James M. Griffin, 2003. "New Evidence on Asymmetric Gasoline Price Responses," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 772-776, August.
    7. Severin Borenstein & A. Colin Cameron & Richard Gilbert, 1997. "Do Gasoline Prices Respond Asymmetrically to Crude Oil Price Changes?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 305-339.
    8. Grasso, Margherita & Manera, Matteo, 2007. "Asymmetric error correction models for the oil-gasoline price relationship," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 156-177, January.
    9. Galeotti, Marzio & Lanza, Alessandro & Manera, Matteo, 2003. "Rockets and feathers revisited: an international comparison on European gasoline markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 175-190, March.
    10. Banerjee, Anindya & Dolado, Juan J. & Galbraith, John W. & Hendry, David, 1993. "Co-integration, Error Correction, and the Econometric Analysis of Non-Stationary Data," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288107, June.
    11. Radchenko, Stanislav, 2005. "Oil price volatility and the asymmetric response of gasoline prices to oil price increases and decreases," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 708-730, September.
    12. Asplund, Marcus & Eriksson, Rickard & Friberg, Richard, 2000. " Price Adjustments by a Gasoline Retail Chain," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 101-121, March.
    13. Honarvar, Afshin, 2009. "Asymmetry in retail gasoline and crude oil price movements in the United States: An application of hidden cointegration technique," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 395-402, May.
    14. Nathan S. Balke & Stephen P. A. Brown & Mine Yücel, 1998. "Crude oil and gasoline prices: an asymmetric relationship?," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q 1, pages 2-11.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eleftheriou, Konstantinos & Polemis, Michael, 2016. "Gasoline Price Wars: Spatial Dependence Awakens," MPRA Paper 70037, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Jammazi, Rania & Lahiani, Amine & Nguyen, Duc Khuong, 2015. "A wavelet-based nonlinear ARDL model for assessing the exchange rate pass-through to crude oil prices," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 173-187.
    3. Bahmani-Oskooee, Mohsen & Durmaz, Nazif, 2016. "Asymmetric cointegration and the J-Curve: Evidence from commodity trade between Turkey and EU," MPRA Paper 83183, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 14 May 2016.
    4. repec:kap:empiri:v:44:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10663-016-9324-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Fousekis, Panos & Katrakilidis, Constantinos & Trachanas, Emmanouil, 2016. "Vertical price transmission in the US beef sector: Evidence from the nonlinear ARDL model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 52(PB), pages 499-506.
    6. Rafiq, Shuddhasattwa & Bloch, Harry, 2016. "Explaining commodity prices through asymmetric oil shocks: Evidence from nonlinear models," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 34-48.
    7. Juan Carlos Cuestas & Ying Sophie Huang & Bo Tang, 2016. "Does the Yuan's Overseas Expansion Increase the Currency Exposure of Chinese Financial Firms?," Working Papers 2016006, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    8. Hovi Matti & Laamanen Jani-Petri, 2017. "Adaptation and Loss Aversion in the Relationship between GDP and Subjective Well-being," Working Papers 1717, University of Tampere, School of Management, Economics.
    9. Yufeng Chen & Guobin Huang & Lihua Ma, 2017. "Rockets and Feathers: The Asymmetric Effect between China’s Refined Oil Prices and International Crude Oil Prices," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-19, March.
    10. Hany Abdel-Latif & Tapas Mishra, 2016. "Asymmetric Growth Impact of Social Policy: A Post-Shock Policy Scenario for Egypt," Working Papers 1035, Economic Research Forum, revised Aug 2016.
    11. repec:eee:ecosys:v:41:y:2017:i:2:p:266-278 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Polemis, Michael L. & Tsionas, Mike G., 2016. "An alternative semiparametric approach to the modelling of asymmetric gasoline price adjustment," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 384-388.
    13. De Vita, Glauco & Trachanas, Emmanouil, 2016. "‘Nonlinear causality between crude oil price and exchange rate: A comparative study of China and India’ — A failed replication (negative Type 1 and Type 2)," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 150-160.
    14. Michael L Polemis & Panagiotis N Fotis, 2015. "Rent seeking oligopolistic behaviour in European gasoline markets," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(1), pages 827-833.

    More about this item


    Nonlinear ARDL (NARDL); Asymmetric gasoline price adjustment; Rockets and feathers hypothesis;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General


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