The effect of the price of gasoline on the urban economy: From route choice to general equilibrium
RELU-TRAN2, a spatial computable general equilibrium (CGE) model of the Chicago MSA is used to understand how gasoline use, car-VMT, on-the-road fuel intensity, trips and location patterns, housing, labor and product markets respond to a gas price increase. We find a long-run elasticity of gasoline demand (with congestion endogenous) of −0.081, keeping constant car prices and the TFI (technological fuel intensity) of car types but allowing consumers to choose from car types. 43% of this long run elasticity is from switching to transit; 15% from trip, car-type and location choice; 38% from price, wage and rent equilibration, and 4% from building stock changes. 79% of the long run elasticity is from changes in car-VMT (the extensive margin) and 21% from savings in gasoline per mile (the intensive margin); with 83% of this intensive margin from changes in congestion and 17% from the substitution in favor of lower TFI. An exogenous trend-line improvement of the TFI of the car-types available for choice raises the long-run response to a percent increase in the gas price from −0.081 to −0.251. Thus, only 1/3 of the long-run response to the gas price stems from consumer choices and 2/3 from progress in fuel intensity. From 2000 to 2007, real gas prices rose 53.7%, the average car fuel intensity improved 2.7% and car prices fell 20%. The model predicts that from these changes alone, keeping constant population, income, etc. aggregate gasoline use in this period would have fallen by 5.2%.
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Volume (Year): 46 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
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