The Incidence of Hybrid Automobile Tax Preferences
We use national and California price data from January, 2002 to June, 2009 for three hybrid and five non-hybrid car models to estimate the share of federal tax preferences for purchasing hybrid cars that accrues to car sellers. Our preferred estimates suggest that almost one-half of the subsidy is capitalized into car prices, but some specifications lead to larger estimated benefits for car suppliers. Our results also show (1) that a California program providing HOV stickers to owners of hybrid fuel automobiles led to large increases in the price of those vehicles, and (2) that failing to control for rising gas prices which increase the demand for fuel efficient vehicles leads to upwardly biased estimates of the amount of the hybrid car tax subsidy captured by automakers.
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