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The demand for ethanol as a gasoline substitute

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  • Anderson, Soren T.

Abstract

This paper estimates household preferences for ethanol (E85) as a gasoline (E10) substitute. I develop a theoretical model linking the shape of the ethanol demand curve to the underlying distribution among households of willingness to pay for ethanol. I estimate the model using instrumental variables techniques and data from many retail fueling stations. I find that a $0.10-per-gallon increase in ethanol's price relative to gasoline leads to a 12–16% decrease in the quantity of ethanol demanded. My findings imply that preferences for ethanol are heterogeneous and that a substantial fraction of households are willing to pay a premium for the fuel. This reduces substantially the simulated efficiency cost of an ethanol content standard, since some households choose ethanol without large subsidies, mitigating deadweight losses.

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson, Soren T., 2012. "The demand for ethanol as a gasoline substitute," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 151-168.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:63:y:2012:i:2:p:151-168
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2011.08.002
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    Keywords

    Alternative fuels; Biofuels; Ethanol demand; Gasoline demand;

    JEL classification:

    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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