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An economic analysis of transportation fuel policies in Brazil


  • Héctor M. Núñez

    () (Division of Economics, CIDE)

  • Hayri Onal


Brazil uses taxes, subsidies, and blending mandates as policy instruments to manage its transportation fuel markets. Despite all the market stabilization efforts, the fuels sector has been very dynamic in recent years. In response to ethanol supply fluctuations, the ethanol blending rate is adjusted at times and complemented with fuel tax rates changes. In this paper, we analyze the impacts of such policy adjustments and market disturbances in the world ethanol and sugar markets on Brazilian producers’ supply responses, consumers’ driving demand and fuel choice, ethanol trade with the rest of the world, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and social welfare. As the analytical tool, we use a large-scale spatially explicit price endogenous mathematical programming model which simulates the resource utilization in agriculture and finds the simultaneous equilibrium in food and fuel markets. The model results show that reducing the ethanol blending rate would reduce the driving demand by conventional vehicles while lowering the tax rate on gasoline would encourage flex fuel vehicle users to switch from pure ethanol to gasohol resulting in larger GHG emissions due to the consumption of a more carbon intensive fuel blend.

Suggested Citation

  • Héctor M. Núñez & Hayri Onal, 2014. "An economic analysis of transportation fuel policies in Brazil," Working papers DTE 570, CIDE, División de Economía.
  • Handle: RePEc:emc:wpaper:dte570

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. de Freitas, Luciano Charlita & Kaneko, Shinji, 2011. "Ethanol demand under the flex-fuel technology regime in Brazil," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1146-1154.
    2. de Gorter, Harry & Drabik, Dusan & Kliauga, Erika M. & Timilsina, Govinda R., 2013. "An economic model of Brazil's ethanol-sugar markets and impacts of fuel policies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6524, The World Bank.
    3. Schmitt, William F. & Szklo, Alexandre & Schaeffer, Roberto, 2011. "Policies for improving the efficiency of the Brazilian light-duty vehicle fleet and their implications for fuel use, greenhouse gas emissions and land use," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3163-3176, June.
    4. Hector M. Nuñez & Hayri Önal & Madhu Khanna, 2013. "Land use and economic effects of alternative biofuel policies in Brazil and the United States," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 44(4-5), pages 487-499, July.
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    More about this item


    Brazil fuel policy; mathematical programming; land use; greenhouse gas emissions;

    JEL classification:

    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation

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