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Choosing among fuels and technologies for cleaning up the air

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  • Robert W. Hahn

    (Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and Adjunct Professor of Economics at Carnegie Mellon University)

Abstract

One of the central elements in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments is the regulation of emissions from motor vehicles. This legislation will have a dramatic impact on the type of cars people drive over the coming decades. Given the high cost of achieving further reductions from automobiles, there has been increasing interest in exploring new technologies and alternative fuels that improve environmental quality. The purpose of this study is to provide an integrated framework for assessing the cost effectiveness of control options that involve a combination of vehicle changes and fuel changes. This study demonstrates the importance of doing an integrated analysis in selecting an appropriate combination of technologies and fuels; it also highlights the need to consider decentralized regulatory approaches, such as effluent taxes and marketable permits, when the data are characterized by large uncertainties. The analysis suggests that a modest improvement in vehicle control technology is probably a cost effective strategy for reducing ozone; however, using a severely reformulated gasoline or an advanced technology, such as the electric vehicle, is unlikely to be cost effective compared with other available options for improving air quality. The cost savings from introducing a market-based approach in place of a vehicle mandate in California and the Northeast are estimated to range from $7 to $29 billion.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert W. Hahn, 1995. "Choosing among fuels and technologies for cleaning up the air," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 532-554.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:14:y:1995:i:4:p:532-554
    DOI: 10.2307/3324908
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.2307/3324908
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rubin Jonathan & Kling Catherine, 1993. "An Emission Saved Is an Emission Earned: An Empirical Study of Emission Banking for Light-Duty Vehicle Manufacturers," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 257-274, November.
    2. Hahn, Robert W & Axtell, Robert L, 1995. "Reevaluating the Relationship between Transferable Property Rights and Command-and-Control Regulation," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 125-148, September.
    3. Hahn, Robert W, 1990. "The Political Economy of Environmental Regulation: Towards a Unifying Framework," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 65(1), pages 21-47, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eskeland, Gunnar S. & Feyzioglu, Tarhan N., 1997. "Is demand for polluting goods manageable? An econometric study of car ownership and use in Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 423-445, August.
    2. Simon Niemeyer, 1998. "Consumer-based carbon reduction incentives," Working Papers in Ecological Economics 9805, Australian National University, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Ecological Economics Program.
    3. Georg Hirte & Stefan Tscharaktschiew, 2012. "The optimal subsidy on electric vehicles in a metropolitan area - a SCGE study for Germany," ERSA conference papers ersa12p324, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2002. "Costs and Benefits of Electric Vehicles - A 2010 Perspective," Working Papers in Economics 73, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    5. Ito, Yutaka & Managi, Shunsuke, 2015. "The potential of alternative fuel vehicles: A cost-benefit analysis," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 39-50.
    6. Wang, Michael Q., 2004. "Examining cost effectiveness of mobile source emission control measures," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 155-169, April.
    7. Hirte, Georg & Tscharaktschiew, Stefan, 2013. "The optimal subsidy on electric vehicles in German metropolitan areas: A spatial general equilibrium analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 515-528.

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