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Gas Prices, Traffic, and Freeway Speeds in Los Angeles

Author

Listed:
  • Nicholas E. Burger

    (RAND Corporation, Washington, DC)

  • Daniel T. Kaffine

    (Division of Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines)

Abstract

Using detailed data on traffic speeds for 12 Los Angeles freeway routes from 2001 to 2006, we investigate aggregate behavioral response to gasoline prices. If traffic is free flowing, drivers should slow to more fuel-efficient speeds as the price of gasoline rises. However, we find little evidence that drivers respond to increased fuel costs by slowing down. When congestion constrains traffic flow, freeway speeds should rise with gasoline price, and we find a $1.00 increase in price raises average freeway speeds by approximately 7% during rush-hour periods. Finally, we introduce a novel method to calculate the short-run vehicle miles traveled demand elasticity during rush hour. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas E. Burger & Daniel T. Kaffine, 2009. "Gas Prices, Traffic, and Freeway Speeds in Los Angeles," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 652-657, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:91:y:2009:i:3:p:652-657
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cozad, Melanie & LaRiviere, Jacob, 2013. "Fuel price increases and the timing of changes in household driving decisions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 194-207.
    2. Antonio Bento & Daniel Kaffine & Kevin Roth & Matthew Zaragoza-Watkins, 2014. "The Effects of Regulation in the Presence of Multiple Unpriced Externalities: Evidence from the Transportation Sector," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 1-29, August.
    3. Wolff, Hendrik, 2014. "Value of time: Speeding behavior and gasoline prices," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 71-88.
    4. Castillo-Manzano, José I. & Castro-Nuño, Mercedes & Pedregal-Tercero, Diego J., 2014. "Temporary speed limit changes: An econometric estimation of the effects of the Spanish Energy Efficiency and Saving Plan," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 44(S1), pages 68-76.
    5. repec:eee:jeeman:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:72-93 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Bento, Antonio M. & Hughes, Jonathan E. & Kaffine, Daniel, 2013. "Carpooling and driver responses to fuel price changes: Evidence from traffic flows in Los Angeles," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 41-56.
    7. Wolff, Hendrik, 2012. "Value of Time: Speeding Behavior and Gasoline Prices," IZA Discussion Papers 6788, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Jonathan E. Hughes & Daniel Kaffine, 2013. "When is Encouraging Consumption of Common Property Second Best? Sorting, Congestion and Entry in the Commons," Working Papers 2013-05, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
    9. repec:eee:transa:v:105:y:2017:i:c:p:167-180 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Winston, Clifford & Yan, Jia, 2011. "Can privatization of U.S. highways improve motorists' welfare?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 993-1005, August.
    11. Burke, Paul J. & Batsuuri, Tsendsuren & Yudhistira, Muhammad Halley, 2017. "Easing the traffic: The effects of Indonesia’s fuel subsidy reforms on toll-road travel," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 167-180.
    12. Paul J. Burke & Shuhei Nishitateno, 2015. "Gasoline Prices And Road Fatalities: International Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(3), pages 1437-1450, July.
    13. Srikant Devaraj & Pankaj C Patel, 2016. "Gas Prices and Red light Violations in Chicago," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(3), pages 1844-1853.

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