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Carbon pricing in Germany's road transport and housing sector: Options for reimbursing carbon revenues


  • Frondel, Manuel
  • Schubert, Stefanie A.


In 2021, Germany launched a national emissions trading system (ETS) in its road transport and housing sectors that increases the cost burden of consumers of fossil fuels, the major source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. A promising approach to secure public acceptance for such a carbon pricing would be to entirely reallocate the resulting “carbon” revenues to consumers. This article discusses three alternatives that were discussed in the political arena prior to the introduction of the national carbon pricing: a) a per-capita reallocation to private households, b) the reduction of electricity prices by, e.g., decreasing the electricity tax, as well as c) targeted financial aid for vulnerable consumers, such as increasing housing benefits. To estimate both the revenues originating from carbon pricing and the resulting emission savings, we employ a partial equilibrium approach that is based on price elasticity estimates on individual fossil fuel consumption from the empirical literature. Most effective with respect to alleviating the burden of poor households would be increasing housing benefits. While this measure would not require large monetary resources, we argue that the remaining revenues should be preferably employed to reduce Germany's electricity tax, which becomes more and more obsolete given the steadily increasing amount of electricity generated by renewable energy technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Frondel, Manuel & Schubert, Stefanie A., 2021. "Carbon pricing in Germany's road transport and housing sector: Options for reimbursing carbon revenues," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 157(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:157:y:2021:i:c:s0301421521003414
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112471

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    2. Wu, Qingyang & Tan, Chang & Wang, Daoping & Wu, Yongtao & Meng, Jing & Zheng, Heran, 2023. "How carbon emission prices accelerate net zero: Evidence from China's coal-fired power plants," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 177(C).
    3. Dütschke, Elisabeth & Preuß, Sabine & Brunzema, Iska & Piria, Raffaele, 2023. "Using the revenues from carbon pricing - Insights into the acceptance and perceptions of particularly burdened groups," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 175(C).
    4. Witold Torbacki, 2021. "Achieving Sustainable Mobility in the Szczecin Metropolitan Area in the Post-COVID-19 Era: The DEMATEL and PROMETHEE II Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(22), pages 1-25, November.
    5. Jia, Zhijie & Wen, Shiyan & Liu, Yu, 2022. "China's urban-rural inequality caused by carbon neutrality: A perspective from carbon footprint and decomposed social welfare," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C).

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    More about this item


    Electricity tax; Housing benefits; Distributional effects;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • Q21 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices


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