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Linking soy oil demand from the US Renewable Fuel Standard to palm oil expansion through an analysis on vegetable oil price elasticities


  • Santeramo, Fabio Gaetano
  • Searle, Stephanie


The United States (US) Renewable Fuel Standard and California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard support the use of soy biodiesel and renewable diesel in the transport fuel supply for climate mitigation. However, linkages between the markets for soy oil and palm oil, which is associated with very high land use change emissions, could negatively affect the climate performance of soy-based biofuels. This study estimates the own and cross-price elasticities for the supply of soy and palm oils in the US using country-level data from 1992 to 2016 under rational expectations, through a seemingly unrelated regressions system of equations. We find a positive cross-price elasticity of palm oil import with respect to soy oil price and a positive reaction of supply of soy oil to increase in prices of palm oil. These results suggest that US biofuel policies may underestimate substitution between soy and palm oils and thus overestimate the climate benefits from soy-based biofuel.

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  • Santeramo, Fabio Gaetano & Searle, Stephanie, 2018. "Linking soy oil demand from the US Renewable Fuel Standard to palm oil expansion through an analysis on vegetable oil price elasticities," MPRA Paper 90248, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:90248

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fabio Gaetano Santeramo & Emilia Lamonaca & Marco Tappi & Leonardo Di Gioia, 2019. "Considerations on the Environmental and Social Sustainability of Animal-Based Policies," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(8), pages 1-12, April.
    2. Santeramo, Fabio Gaetano & Di Gioia, Leonardo & Lamonaca, Emilia, 2021. "Price responsiveness of supply and acreage in the EU vegetable oil markets: Policy implications," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C).
    3. Lin, Cherng-Yuan & Lu, Cherie, 2021. "Development perspectives of promising lignocellulose feedstocks for production of advanced generation biofuels: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 136(C).

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    More about this item


    Biofuel; Price elasticity; Oils market; SURE;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • P28 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Natural Resources; Environment
    • Q21 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources

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