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Flex Cars and Competition in Ethanol and Gasoline Retail Markets

Author

Listed:
  • Juliano Assuncao
  • Joao Paulo Pessoa
  • Leonardo Rezende

Abstract

In Brazil, gasoline and ethanol coexist as automotive fuels and are becoming closer substitutes as flex cars become more widely adopted. We employ this source of variation in a large panel of weekly prices at the station level to show that fuel prices have fallen in response to this change. This finding is evidence of market power in fuel retail and indicates that innovations that increase consumer choice benefit even those who choose not to adopt them. We also propose a model of price competition in this market and use it to estimate demand from price response functions.

Suggested Citation

  • Juliano Assuncao & Joao Paulo Pessoa & Leonardo Rezende, 2013. "Flex Cars and Competition in Ethanol and Gasoline Retail Markets," CEP Discussion Papers dp1251, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1251
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    File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1251.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Anderson, Soren T., 2012. "The demand for ethanol as a gasoline substitute," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 151-168.
    2. Alberto Salvo & Cristian Huse, 2011. "Is Arbitrage Tying the Price of Ethanol to that of Gasoline? Evidence from the Uptake of Flexible-Fuel Technology," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 119-148.
    3. Carlson, John A & McAfee, R Preston, 1983. "Discrete Equilibrium Price Dispersion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 480-493, June.
    4. Corts, Kenneth S., 2010. "Building out alternative fuel retail infrastructure: Government fleet spillovers in E85," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 219-234, May.
    5. Joris Pinkse & Margaret E. Slade & Craig Brett, 2002. "Spatial Price Competition: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 1111-1153, May.
    6. Matthew Lewis, 2008. "PRICE DISPERSION AND COMPETITION WITH DIFFERENTIATED SELLERS -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 654-678, September.
    7. Ferreira, Alex Luiz & de Almeida Prado, Fernando Pigeard & da Silveira, Jaylson Jair, 2009. "Flex cars and the alcohol price," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 382-394, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Flex-fuel vehicles; Gasoline; Ethanol; Price competition; Spatial Competition; Discrete equilibrium price dispersion;

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L62 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment; Related Parts and Equipment
    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels

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