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The Taxation of Motor Fuel: International Comparison

  • Eduardo, Ley
  • Jessica, Boccardo

We apply the Parry-Small (2005) framework to asses whether the level taxation of motor fuel is broadly appropriate in a group of countries (OECD, BRICs and South Africa) accounting for more than 80 percent of world greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This paper deals with emissions from oil combustion in transport, which accounts for about 40 percent of \co2\ emissions. In the benchmark specification, we find that six countries (accounting, in turn, for more than 40 percent of motor-fuel GHG world emissions) would be undertaxing motor fuel. We evaluate the sensitivity of the results to the values of the elasticities and externalities that we use. We find that varying the values of these parameters (within the level of uncertainty reasonably associated with them) significantly affects the results. This implies that, while informative, the results must be taken as indicative. Further analysis for a particular country must rely in a well-informed choice for the values of their country-specific parameters.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 19461.

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Date of creation: 19 Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:19461
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  1. Maskin, Eric S & Newbery, David M, 1990. "Disadvantageous Oil Tariffs and Dynamic Consistency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 143-56, March.
  2. Amundsen, Eirik S. & Schob, Ronnie, 1999. "Environmental taxes on exhaustible resources," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 311-329, June.
  3. J. A. Mirrlees, 1976. "Optimal Tax Theory: A Synthesis," Working papers 176, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Pearce, David W, 1991. "The Role of Carbon Taxes in Adjusting to Global Warming," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 938-48, July.
  5. Enrique G. Mendoza & Assaf Razin & Linda L. Tesar, 1994. "Effective Tax Rates in Macroeconomics: Cross-Country Estimates of Tax Rates on Factor Incomes and Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4864, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521265638 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Aldy, Joseph E. & Ley, Eduardo & Parry, Ian W.H., 2008. "A Tax-Based Approach to Slowing Global Climate Change," Discussion Papers dp-08-26, Resources For the Future.
  8. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1982. "On Capturing Oil Rents with a National Excise Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 194-201, March.
  9. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521397421 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Zhang, ZhongXiang & Baranzini, Andrea, 2000. "What do we know about carbon taxes? an inquiry into their impacts on competitiveness and distribution of income," MPRA Paper 13225, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jan 2003.
  11. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
  12. Larry Karp & David M. Newbery, 1992. "Dynamically Consistent Oil Import Tariffs," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(1), pages 1-21, February.
  13. Karp, Larry & Newbery, David M., 1991. "Optimal tariffs on exhaustible resources," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3-4), pages 285-299, May.
  14. Farzin, Y. H., 1996. "Optimal pricing of environmental and natural resource use with stock externalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 31-57, October.
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