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Rising household diesel consumption in the United States: A cause for concern? Evidence on asymmetric pricing


  • Fosten, Jack


Papers in the literature have thus far overlooked the projected increase in U.S. diesel car share when looking at asymmetries in petroleum pricing. This paper addresses this issue by comparing retail gasoline and diesel prices in order to see whether they rise faster than they fall given the price of their upstream input, crude oil. This phenomenon has been termed in the literature as “Rockets and Feathers.” We apply the threshold vector error correction model (TVECM) of Hansen and Seo (2002) which has not yet been applied in the literature. We account for the 2008 structural break to crude oil and petroleum prices by splitting the sample using evidence from the recent structural break unit root test of Kim and Perron (2009). Both markets seem to price symmetrically before the 2008 break, but we find evidence of asymmetric pricing after 2008 in diesel prices, and not in gasoline prices. Given that the diesel market is small relative to the gasoline market and therefore more open to price exploitation, the ongoing cost increases associated with the policy of switching to Ultra Low Sulphur diesel (ULSD) from 2006 to 2010 could be at the heart of this asymmetry. With this in mind, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission should monitor diesel prices as the market share grows, in order to ensure that consumers are not adversely affected.

Suggested Citation

  • Fosten, Jack, 2012. "Rising household diesel consumption in the United States: A cause for concern? Evidence on asymmetric pricing," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1514-1522.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:34:y:2012:i:5:p:1514-1522 DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2012.06.025

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bastianin, Andrea & Galeotti, Marzio & Manera, Matteo, 2014. "Forecasting the oil–gasoline price relationship: Do asymmetries help?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(S1), pages 44-56.
    2. Phaisan Pattanakooha & Pongsa Pornchaiwisetgul, 2015. "The Effect of Stock, Government Policy, and Monopoly on Asymmetric Price Transmission in Thailand," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 5(4), pages 926-933.
    3. Chi, Junwook, 2016. "Long- and short-run asymmetric responses of motor-vehicle travel to fuel price variations: New evidence from a nonlinear ARDL approach," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 126-134.
    4. Valadkhani, Abbas & Smyth, Russell & Vahid, Farshid, 2015. "Asymmetric pricing of diesel at its source," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(PA), pages 183-194.

    More about this item


    Gasoline pricing; Diesel pricing; Asymmetric adjustment; Threshold cointegration; Cointegration; Structural beaks;

    JEL classification:

    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General


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