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Impacts of Long-Range Increases in the Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standard


  • Andrew N. Kleit


This work models the impact of higher CAFE standards on producer and consumer welfare, gasoline consumption, externalities from increased driving, and the emissions of traditional pollutants. In particular, a long-run 3.0 MPG increase in the CAFE standard is estimated to impose welfare losses of about $4 billion per year and save about 5.2 billion gallons of gasoline per year, for a hidden tax of $0.78 per gallon conserved. An 11-cent-per-gallon increase in the gasoline tax would save the same amount of fuel at a welfare cost of about $290 million per year, or about one-fourteenth the cost. (JEL L51, Q30) Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew N. Kleit, 2004. "Impacts of Long-Range Increases in the Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standard," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 279-294, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:42:y:2004:i:2:p:279-294

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Soren T. Anderson & James M. Sallee, 2011. "Using Loopholes to Reveal the Marginal Cost of Regulation: The Case of Fuel-Economy Standards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1375-1409, June.
    2. Whistance, Jarrett & Thompson, Wyatt, 2014. "The role of CAFE standards and alternative-fuel vehicle production credits in U.S. biofuels markets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 147-157.
    3. Liu, Weiwei, 2015. "Gasoline taxes or efficiency standards? A heterogeneous household demand analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 54-64.
    4. Koichiro Ito & James M. Sallee, 2014. "The Economics of Attribute-Based Regulation: Theory and Evidence from Fuel-Economy Standards," NBER Working Papers 20500, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Sofronis Clerides & Theodoros Zachariadis, 2006. "Are standards Effective in Improving Automobile Fuel Economy?," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 6-2006, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    6. Vance, Colin & Frondel, Manuel, 2015. "From fuel taxation to efficiency standards: A wrong turn in European climate protection?," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113171, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Yizao Liu, 2010. "Gasoline Prices, Fuel Economy Efficiency And Automobile Replacement Dynamics," Working Papers 02, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
    8. Shiau, Ching-Shin Norman & Michalek, Jeremy J. & Hendrickson, Chris T., 2009. "A structural analysis of vehicle design responses to Corporate Average Fuel Economy policy," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(9-10), pages 814-828, November.
    9. Dumortier, Jerome & Siddiki, Saba & Carley, Sanya & Cisney, Joshua & Krause, Rachel M. & Lane, Bradley W. & Rupp, John A. & Graham, John D., 2015. "Effects of providing total cost of ownership information on consumers’ intent to purchase a hybrid or plug-in electric vehicle," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 71-86.
    10. Rasha Ahmed & Kathleen Segerson, 2007. "Emissions Control and the Regulation of Product Markets: The Case of Automobiles," Working papers 2007-40, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    11. Clerides, Sofronis & Zachariadis, Theodoros, 2008. "The effect of standards and fuel prices on automobile fuel economy: An international analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2657-2672, September.
    12. Steven Tenn & John M. Yun, 2005. "When adding a fuel efficient car increases an automaker's CAFE penalty," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(1), pages 51-54.
    13. Small, Kenneth A., 2012. "Energy policies for passenger motor vehicles," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 874-889.
    14. Liu, Yimin & Helfand, Gloria E., 2009. "The Alternative Motor Fuels Act, alternative-fuel vehicles, and greenhouse gas emissions," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(8), pages 755-764, October.
    15. Manuel Frondel & Colin Vance, 2013. "Fuel Taxes versus Efficiency Standards – An Instrumental Variable Approach," Ruhr Economic Papers 0445, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    16. Montag, Josef, 2015. "The simple economics of motor vehicle pollution: A case for fuel tax," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 138-149.
    17. Chandra, Ambarish & Gulati, Sumeet & Kandlikar, Milind, 2010. "Green drivers or free riders? An analysis of tax rebates for hybrid vehicles," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 78-93, September.
    18. Frondel, Manuel & Vance, Colin, 2013. "Fuel Taxes versus Efficiency Standards – An Instrumental Variable Approach," Ruhr Economic Papers 445, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    19. repec:zbw:rwirep:0445 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. David Anthoff & Robert Hahn, 2010. "Government failure and market failure: on the inefficiency of environmental and energy policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 197-224, Summer.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • Q30 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - General


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