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Are energy efficiency standards justified?

Author

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  • Parry, Ian W.H.
  • Evans, David
  • Oates, Wallace E.

Abstract

This paper develops an analytical framework for comparing the welfare effects of energy efficiency standards and pricing policies for reducing gasoline, electricity, and nationwide carbon emissions. The model is parameterized with US data and includes key externalities in the energy/transportation sectors and possible underinvestment in energy efficiency due to “misperceptions” over energy savings. Even with large misperceptions, the extra welfare gains from complementing efficient pricing policies with energy efficiency standards are zero for reducing gasoline and 5 percent for reducing electricity. And when viewed as substitutes, these standards forgo 60 percent or more of the potential welfare gains from corresponding pricing policies. A combination of energy efficiency and emissions standards is more than three times as costly as carbon pricing when there is no misperception over energy savings, and even with large misperceptions, combining carbon pricing with gasoline/electricity taxes is better than combining it with energy efficiency standards.

Suggested Citation

  • Parry, Ian W.H. & Evans, David & Oates, Wallace E., 2014. "Are energy efficiency standards justified?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 104-125.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:67:y:2014:i:2:p:104-125
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2013.11.003
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Efficiency standards; Energy taxes; Market failure; Climate; Power sector; Gasoline;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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