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The impact of residential density on vehicle usage and energy consumption

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  • Brownstone, David
  • Golob, Thomas F.

Abstract

We specify and estimate a joint model of residential density, vehicle use, and fuel consumption that accounts for both self selection effects and missing data that are related to the endogenous variables. Our model is estimated on the California subsample of the 2001 U.S. National Household Travel Survey (NHTS). Comparing two California households that are similar in all respects except residential density, a lower density of 1000 housing units per square mile (roughly 40% of the weighted sample average) implies an increase of 1200 miles driven per year (4.8%) and 65 more gallons of fuel used per household (5.5%). This total effect of residential density on fuel usage is decomposed into two paths of influence. Increased mileage leads to a difference of 45 gallons, but there is an additional direct effect of density through lower fleet fuel economy of 20 gallons per year, a result of vehicle type choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Brownstone, David & Golob, Thomas F., 2009. "The impact of residential density on vehicle usage and energy consumption," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 91-98, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:65:y:2009:i:1:p:91-98
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bhat, Chandra R. & Eluru, Naveen, 2009. "A copula-based approach to accommodate residential self-selection effects in travel behavior modeling," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 749-765, August.
    2. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    3. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 38(2), pages 112-134.
    4. Bhat, Chandra R. & Guo, Jessica Y., 2007. "A comprehensive analysis of built environment characteristics on household residential choice and auto ownership levels," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 506-526, June.
    5. Fang, Hao Audrey, 2008. "A discrete-continuous model of households' vehicle choice and usage, with an application to the effects of residential density," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 736-758, November.
    6. Kevin A. Bryan & Brian D. Minton & Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte, 2007. "The evolution of city population density in the United States," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Fall, pages 341-360.
    7. Matthew E. Kahn, 2000. "The environmental impact of suburbanization," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 569-586.
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