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Reformulating Competition? Gasoline Content Regulation and Wholesale Gasoline Prices

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  • Brown, Jennifer
  • Mansur, Erin T.
  • Hastings, Justine
  • Villas-Boas, Sofia Berto

Abstract

The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments stipulated gasoline content requirements for metropolitan areas with air pollution levels above predetermined federal thresholds. The legislation led to exogenous changes in the type of gasoline required for sale across U.S. metropolitan areas. This paper uses a panel of detailed wholesale gasoline price data to estimate the effect of gasoline content regulation on wholesale prices and price volatility. In addition, we investigate the extent to which the estimated price effects are driven by changes in the number of suppliers versus geographic segmentation resulting from regulation. We find that prices in regulated metropolitan areas increase significantly, relative to a control group, by an average of 3.6 cents per gallon. The price effect, however, varies by ten cents per gallon across regulated markets and the heterogeneity across markets is correlated with the degree of geographic isolation generated by the discontinuous regulatory requirements.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Jennifer & Mansur, Erin T. & Hastings, Justine & Villas-Boas, Sofia Berto, 2006. "Reformulating Competition? Gasoline Content Regulation and Wholesale Gasoline Prices," CUDARE Working Papers 25038, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ucbecw:25038
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.25038
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    Cited by:

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    3. Du, Xiaodong & Hayes, Dermot J., 2009. "The impact of ethanol production on US and regional gasoline markets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 3227-3234, August.
    4. Kendix, Michael & Walls, W.D., 2010. "Oil industry consolidation and refined product prices: Evidence from US wholesale gasoline terminals," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 3498-3507, July.
    5. Adriana Fernandez & Robert W. Gilmer & Jonathan Story, 2007. "Gasoline content regulation as a trade barrier: do boutique fuels discourage fuel imports?," Working Papers 0709, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    6. Holmes, Mark J. & Otero, Jesús & Panagiotidis, Theodore, 2013. "On the dynamics of gasoline market integration in the United States: Evidence from a pair-wise approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 503-510.
    7. Shanjun Li & Joshua Linn & Erich Muehlegger, 2014. "Gasoline Taxes and Consumer Behavior," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 302-342, November.
    8. Burkhardt, Jesse, 2019. "The impact of the Renewable Fuel Standard on US oil refineries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 429-437.
    9. Kendix, Michael & Walls, W.D., 2010. "Estimating the impact of refinery outages on petroleum product prices," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1291-1298, November.
    10. Maximilian Auffhammer & Ryan Kellogg, 2011. "Clearing the Air? The Effects of Gasoline Content Regulation on Air Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2687-2722, October.
    11. Anderson, Soren T. & Elzinga, Andrew, 2014. "A ban on one is a boon for the other: Strict gasoline content rules and implicit ethanol blending mandates," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 258-273.
    12. Erich J. Muehlegger, 2004. "Gasoline Price Spikes and Regional Gasoline Content Regulations - A Structural Approach," Working Papers 0421, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
    13. Du, Xiaodong, 2008. "Essays on land cash rents, biofuels, and their interactions," ISU General Staff Papers 200801010800001979, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    14. Walls, W.D. & Rusco, Frank & Kendix, Michael, 2011. "Biofuels policy and the US market for motor fuels: Empirical analysis of ethanol splashing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(7), pages 3999-4006, July.
    15. Shanjun Li & Christopher Timmins & Roger H. von Haefen, 2009. "How Do Gasoline Prices Affect Fleet Fuel Economy?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 113-137, August.
    16. Matthew Chesnes, 2016. "Asymmetric Pass-Through in U.S. Gasoline Prices," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
    17. Juan Esteban Carranza & Robert Clark & Jean-François Houde, 2015. "Price Controls and Market Structure: Evidence from Gasoline Retail Markets," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(1), pages 152-198, March.
    18. Guangyong Zhang & Lixin Tian & Wenbin Zhang & Xu Yan & Bingyue Wan & Zaili Zhen, 2020. "A Study on the Similarities and Differences of the Conventional Gasoline Spot Price Fluctuation Network between Different Harbors," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(2), pages 1-25, January.
    19. Marcus, Michelle, 2017. "On the road to recovery: Gasoline content regulations and child health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 98-123.
    20. Muehlegger, Erich, 2006. "Market Effects of Regulatory Heterogeneity: A Study of Regional Gasoline Content Regulations," Working Paper Series rwp06-021, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    21. Alistair Davey, 2009. "The Impact Of Clean Fuel Specifications On Adelaide Retail Petrol Prices," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 1-18, March.
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