Long-Run Relationship among Transport Demand, Income, and Gasoline Price for the US
Energy used in transport is a particularly important focus for environment-development studies because it is increasing in both developed and developing countries and is largely carbon-intensive. This paper examines whether a systemic, mutually causal, cointegrated relationship exists among mobility demand, gasoline price, income, and vehicle ownership using US data from 1946 to 2006. We find that those variables co-evolve in a transport system; and thus, they cannot be easily disentangled in the short-run. However, estimating a long-run relationship for motor fuel use per capita was difficult because of the efficacy of the CAFE standards to influence fleet fuel economy. The analysis shows that the fuel standards program was effective in improving the fuel economy of the US vehicle fleet and in temporarily lessening the impact on fuel use of increased mobility demand. Among the policy implications are a role for efficiency standards, a limited impact for fuel tax, and the necessity of using a number of levers simultaneously to influence transport systems.
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