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Unintended Consequences from Nested State & Federal Regulations: The Case of the Pavley Greenhouse-Gas-per-Mile Limits

Author

Listed:
  • Lawrence H. Goulder
  • Mark R. Jacobsen
  • Arthur A. van Benthem

Abstract

Fourteen U.S. states recently pledged to adopt limits on greenhouse gases (GHGs) per mile of light-duty automobiles. Previous analyses predicted this action would significantly reduce emissions from new cars in these states, but ignored possible offsetting emissions increases from policy-induced adjustments in new car markets in other (non-adopting) states and in the used car market. Such offsets (or "leakage") reflect the fact that the state-level effort interacts with the national corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard: the state-level initiative effectively loosens the national standard and gives automakers scope to profitably increase sales of high-emissions automobiles in non-adopting states. In addition, although the state-level effort may well spur the invention of fuel- and emissions-saving technologies, interactions with the federal CAFE standard limit the nationwide emissions reductions from such advances. Using a multi-period numerical simulation model, we find that 70-80 percent of the emissions reductions from new cars in adopting states are offset by emissions leakage. This research examines a particular instance of a general issue of policy significance - namely, problems from "nested" federal and state environmental regulations. Such nesting implies that similar leakage difficulties are likely to arise under several newly proposed state-level initiatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence H. Goulder & Mark R. Jacobsen & Arthur A. van Benthem, 2009. "Unintended Consequences from Nested State & Federal Regulations: The Case of the Pavley Greenhouse-Gas-per-Mile Limits," NBER Working Papers 15337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15337
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. James M. Sallee, 2011. "The Taxation of Fuel Economy," Tax Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 1-38.
    2. Klier, Thomas & Linn, Joshua, 2011. "Fuel Prices and New Vehicle Fuel Economy in Europe," Discussion Papers dp-11-37, Resources For the Future.
    3. Williams, Roberton C., 2012. "Growing state–federal conflicts in environmental policy: The role of market-based regulation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1092-1099.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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