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How do fuel taxes impact new car purchases? An evaluation using French consumer-level data

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  • Givord, Pauline
  • Grislain-Letrémy, Céline
  • Naegele, Helene

Abstract

This study evaluates the impact of fuel taxes on new car purchases, using exhaustive individual-level data of monthly new car registrations in France. We use information on the car holder to account for heterogeneous preferences across purchasers, and we identify demand parameters through the large oil price fluctuations of this period. We find that the short-term sensitivity of demand with respect to fuel prices is low, particularly for corporate purchases. Using our estimates to compute elasticities, we assess the impact of a policy equalizing diesel and gasoline taxes. Such a policy reduces the share of diesel-engines without substantially changing the average fuel consumption or CO2 intensity of new cars. Alternatively, we find that a (revenue-equivalent) carbon tax has only small effects on average fuel consumption and CO2 intensity of new cars.

Suggested Citation

  • Givord, Pauline & Grislain-Letrémy, Céline & Naegele, Helene, 2018. "How do fuel taxes impact new car purchases? An evaluation using French consumer-level data," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 76-96.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:74:y:2018:i:c:p:76-96
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2018.04.042
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    Keywords

    Fuel prices; Automobile demand; Carbon dioxide emissions; Environmental tax;

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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