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The System Dynamics of U.S. Automobile Fuel Economy

Author

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  • Todd K. BenDor

    () (Department of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, New East Building, Campus Box #3140, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3140, USA)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the dynamics of U.S. automobile gasoline consumption since 1975. Using background literature on the history of domestic fuel economy and energy policy, I establish a conceptual model that explains historical trends in adoption of increased fuel economy. I then create a system dynamics simulation model to understand the relationship between increased fuel economy standards and potential changes to gas tax policies. The model suggests that when increases in mandated fuel economy are not conducted in an environment with rising fuel costs, fuel economy improvements may be directly counteracted by shifting tastes of consumers towards larger automobiles with lower fuel economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Todd K. BenDor, 2012. "The System Dynamics of U.S. Automobile Fuel Economy," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(5), pages 1-30, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:5:p:1013-1042:d:17837
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kenneth A. Small & Kurt Van Dender, 2007. "Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 25-52.
    2. Brozovic, Nicholas & Ando, Amy Whritenour, 2009. "Defensive purchasing, the safety (dis)advantage of light trucks, and motor-vehicle policy effectiveness," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 477-493, June.
    3. A. Greening, Lorna & Greene, David L. & Difiglio, Carmen, 2000. "Energy efficiency and consumption -- the rebound effect -- a survey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 389-401, June.
    4. James L. Smith, 2009. "World Oil: Market or Mayhem?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 145-164, Summer.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    transportation; system dynamics modeling; transportation policy; fuel economy; fuel economy; environmental policy; energy security; climate change; mobile source; CAFE standards;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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