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Estimating direct rebound effects for personal automotive travel in Great Britain

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  • Stapleton, Lee
  • Sorrell, Steve
  • Schwanen, Tim

Abstract

Direct rebound effects result from increased consumption of cheaper energy services. For example, more fuel-efficient cars encourage more car travel. This study is the first to quantify this effect for personal automotive travel in Great Britain. We use aggregate time series data on transport activity, fuel consumption and other relevant variables over the period 1970–2011 and estimate the direct rebound effect from the elasticity of both vehicle and passenger kilometres with respect to: a) vehicle fuel efficiency (km/MJ); b) the fuel cost of driving (£/km); and c) road fuel prices (£/MJ). We estimate a total of 108 models, paying careful attention to methodological issues and model diagnostics. Taking changes in fuel efficiency as the explanatory variable, we find little evidence of a long-run direct rebound effect in Great Britain over this period. However, taking changes in either the fuel cost of driving or fuel prices as the explanatory variable we estimate a direct rebound effect in the range 9% to 36% with a mean of ~19%. This estimate is consistent with the results of US studies and suggests that around one fifth of the potential fuel savings from improved car fuel efficiency may have been eroded through increased driving. We also show how the normalisation of distance travelled (per capita, per adult or per driver) affects the results obtained.

Suggested Citation

  • Stapleton, Lee & Sorrell, Steve & Schwanen, Tim, 2016. "Estimating direct rebound effects for personal automotive travel in Great Britain," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 313-325.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:54:y:2016:i:c:p:313-325
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2015.12.012
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    1. L. (Lisa B.) Ryan & Andrew J. Kelly & Ivan Petrov & Yulu Guo & Sarah La Monaca, 2018. "An Assessment of the Social Costs and Benefits of Vehicle Tax Reform in Ireland," Open Access publications COM/ENV/EPOC/CTPA/CFA(201, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    2. Chai, Jian & Yang, Ying & Wang, Shouyang & Lai, Kin Keung, 2016. "Fuel efficiency and emission in China's road transport sector: Induced effect and rebound effect," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 188-197.
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    7. Ouyang, Xiaoling & Gao, Beiying & Du, Kerui & Du, Gang, 2018. "Industrial sectors' energy rebound effect: An empirical study of Yangtze River Delta urban agglomeration," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 408-416.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Rebound effect; Asymmetry; Fuel prices; Robustness; Fuel efficiency; Peak car;

    JEL classification:

    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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