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Travel distance, fuel efficiency, and vehicle weight: An estimation of the rebound effect using individual data in Switzerland

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  • Sylvain Weber
  • Mehdi Farsi

Abstract

Improvements in cars' fuel efficiency may induce people to travel more, taking back some of the potential fuel savings. This behavior, known as the (direct) rebound effect, has received much attention in the literature. However, no consensus has been reached regarding its size or the methodology to measure it. In this paper, we estimate the rebound effect for private vehicle transportation in Switzerland using individual household data. We estimate a system of equations that explain travel distance, fuel efficiency, and vehicle weight using seemingly unrelated regressions. Our results point to substantial rebound effects ranging from 57% to 82%, which lie at the higher end of the estimates obtained in the literature, but concur with findings in other European countries. Importantly, our results also indicate that OLS estimates of the rebound tend to be under-estimated rather than over-estimated as usually assumed.

Suggested Citation

  • Sylvain Weber & Mehdi Farsi, 2014. "Travel distance, fuel efficiency, and vehicle weight: An estimation of the rebound effect using individual data in Switzerland," IRENE Working Papers 14-03, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:irn:wpaper:14-03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. De Borger, Bruno & Mulalic, Ismir & Rouwendal, Jan, 2016. "Measuring the rebound effect with micro data: A first difference approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 1-17.
    2. Dimitropoulos, Alexandros & Oueslati, Walid & Sintek, Christina, 2018. "The rebound effect in road transport: A meta-analysis of empirical studies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 163-179.
    3. Manuel Frondel & Colin Vance, 2018. "Drivers’ response to fuel taxes and efficiency standards: evidence from Germany," Transportation, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 989-1001, May.
    4. Ivan Tilov & Sylvain Weber, 2020. "Heterogeneity in price elasticity of vehicle kilometers traveled: Evidence from micro-level panel data," IRENE Working Papers 20-12, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    5. Weber, Sylvain, 2019. "Consumers' preferences on the Swiss car market: A revealed preference approach," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 109-118.
    6. Moshiri, Saeed & Aliyev, Kamil, 2017. "Rebound effect of efficiency improvement in passenger cars on gasoline consumption in Canada," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 330-341.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    rebound effect; travel demand; simultaneous equations model;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C31 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models; Quantile Regressions; Social Interaction Models
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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