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The System Dynamics of U.S. Automobile Fuel Economy

  • 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)

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    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.

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    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 5 (May)
    Pages: 1013-1042

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:5:p:1013-1042:d:17837
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    1. 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.
    2. James L. Smith, 2009. "World Oil: Market or Mayhem?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 145-64, Summer.
    3. Kenneth A. Small & Kurt Van Dender, 2006. "Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect," Working Papers 050603, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    4. 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.
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