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Automobile Prices, Gasoline Prices, and Consumer Demand for Fuel Economy

  • Ashley Langer

    (Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley)

  • Nathan H. Miller

    (Economic Analysis Group, Antitrust Division, Department of Justice)

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    The relationship between gasoline prices and the demand for vehicle fuel efficiency is important for environmental policy but poorly understood in the academic literature. We provide empirical evidence that automobile manufacturers price as if consumers respond to gasoline prices. We derive a reduced-form regression equation from theoretical micro-foundations and estimate the equation with nearly 300,000 vehicle-week-region observations over the period 2003-2006. We find that vehicle prices generally decline in the gasoline price. The decline is larger for inefficient vehicles, and the prices of particularly efficient vehicles actually rise. Structural estimation that ignores these effects underestimates consumer preferences for fuel efficiency.

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    Paper provided by Department of Justice, Antitrust Division in its series EAG Discussions Papers with number 200811.

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    Length: 43 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:doj:eagpap:200811
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Justice Antitrust Division 450 Fifth Street NW Washington, DC 20530
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    1. Adam Copeland & Wendy E. Dunn & George J. Hall, 2005. "Prices, production, and inventories over the automotive model year," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-25, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Shanjun Li & Roger von Haefen & Christopher Timmins, 2008. "How Do Gasoline Prices Affect Fleet Fuel Economy?," NBER Working Papers 14450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Dora Gicheva & Justine Hastings & Sofia Villas-Boas, 2007. "Revisiting the Income Effect: Gasoline Prices and Grocery Purchases," NBER Working Papers 13614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Carol Corrado & Wendy E. Dunn & Maria Ward Otoo, 2006. "Incentives and prices for motor vehicles: what has been happening in recent years?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Alquist, Ron & Kilian, Lutz, 2007. "What Do We Learn from the Price of Crude Oil Futures?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Antonio M Bento & Lawrence H Goulder & Emeric Henry & Mark R Jacobsen & Roger H. Von Haefen, 2005. "Distributional and Efficiency Impacts of Gasoline Taxes: An Econometrically Based Multi-market Study," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/10084, Sciences Po.
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