IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?

  • Parry, Ian

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Small, Kenneth

This paper develops an analytical framework for assessing the second-best optimal level of gasoline taxation, taking into account unpriced pollution, congestion, and accident externalities and interactions with the broader fiscal system. We provide calculations of the optimal taxes for the United States and the United Kingdom under a wide variety of parameter scenarios, with the gasoline tax substituting for a distorting tax on labor income. Under our central parameter values, the second-best optimal gasoline tax is $1.01 per gallon for the United States and $1.34 per gallon for the United Kingdom. These values are moderately sensitive to alternative parameter assumptions. The congestion externality is the largest component in both nations, and the higher optimal tax for the United Kingdom is due mainly to a higher assumed value for marginal congestion cost. Revenue-raising needs, incorporated in a “Ramsey” component, also play a significant role, as do accident externalities and local air pollution. The current gasoline tax in the United Kingdom ($2.80 per gallon) is more than twice this estimated optimal level. Potential welfare gains from reducing it are estimated at nearly one-fourth the production cost of gasoline used in the United Kingdom. Even larger gains in the United Kingdom can be achieved by switching to a tax on vehicle miles with equal revenue yield. For the United States, the welfare gains from optimizing the gasoline tax are smaller, but those from switching to an optimal tax on vehicle miles are very large.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-02-12.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-02-12-.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-02-12-
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.rff.org

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Azar, Christian & Sterner, Thomas, 1996. "Discounting and distributional considerations in the context of global warming," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 169-184, November.
  2. Victor R. Fuchs & Alan B. Krueger & James M. Poterba, 1998. "Economists' Views about Parameters, Values, and Policies: Survey Results in Labor and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1387-1425, September.
  3. Puller, Steven L. & Greening, Lorna A., 1999. "Household adjustment to gasoline price change: an analysis using 9 years of US survey data," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 37-52, February.
  4. Bovenberg, A. Lans & Goulder, Lawrence H., 1997. "Costs of Environmentally Motivated Taxes in the Presence of Other Taxes: General Equilibrium Analyses," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(1), pages 59-88, March.
  5. Poterba, J.M., 1990. "Is The Gasoline Tax Regressive?," Working papers 568, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Chernick, Howard & Reschovsky, Andrew, 1997. "Who Pays the Gasoline Tax?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(2), pages 233-59, June.
  7. Dahl, Carol & Sterner, Thomas, 1991. "Analysing gasoline demand elasticities: a survey," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 203-210, July.
  8. 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.
  9. Daniel J. Graham & Stephen Glaister, 2002. "The Demand for Automobile Fuel: A Survey of Elasticities," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 36(1), pages 1-25, January.
  10. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2000. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation: Pigou, Taxation, and Pollution," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0004, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  11. Don Fullerton & Sarah West, 1999. "Can Taxes on Cars and on Gasoline Mimic an Unavailable Tax on Emissions?," NBER Working Papers 7059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. William R. Cline, 1992. "Economics of Global Warming, The," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 39.
  13. A. Lans Bovenberg & Lawrence H. Goulder, 1994. "Optimal Environmental Taxation in the Presence of Other Taxes: General Equilibrium Analyses," NBER Working Papers 4897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Sandmo, Agnar, 1976. "Optimal taxation : An introduction to the literature," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 37-54.
  15. Espey, Molly, 1998. "Gasoline demand revisited: an international meta-analysis of elasticities," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 273-295, June.
  16. Parry, Ian W. H., 2004. "Comparing alternative policies to reduce traffic accidents," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 346-368, September.
  17. Parry, Ian W H & Bento, Antonio, 2001. " Revenue Recycling and the Welfare Effects of Road Pricing," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(4), pages 645-71, December.
  18. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  19. Burtraw, Dallas & Krupnick, Alan & Austin, David & Farrell, Deirdre & Mansur, Erin, 1997. "The Costs and Benefits of Reducing Acid Rain," Discussion Papers dp-97-31-rev, Resources For the Future.
  20. Richard S.J. Tol & Samuel Fankhauser & Richard G. Richels & Joel B. Smith, 2000. "How Much Damage Will Climate Change Do? Recent Estimates," Working Papers FNU-2, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Sep 2000.
  21. DE BORGER, Bruno, . "Discrete choice models and optimal two-part tariffs in the presence of externalities: Optimal taxation of cars," Working Papers 2000021, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
  22. Edward L. Glaeser & Jed Kolko & Albert Saiz, 2000. "Consumer City," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1901, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  23. Bovenberg, A Lans & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 1992. "Environmental Policy, Public Finance and the Labour Market in a Second-best World," CEPR Discussion Papers 745, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Newbery, David M, 1995. "Royal Commission Report on Transport and the Environment--Economic Effects of Recommendations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1258-72, September.
  25. Ian W.H. Parry & Wallace E. Oates, 2000. "Policy analysis in the presence of distorting taxes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 603-613.
  26. Molly Espey, 1996. "Explaining the Variation in Elasticity Estimates of Gasoline Demand in the United States: A Meta-Analysis," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 49-60.
  27. Mayeres, Inge & Proost, Stef, 2001. "Should diesel cars in Europe be discouraged?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 453-470, July.
  28. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W. H. Parry & Dallas Burtraw, 1996. "Revenue-Raising vs. Other Approaches to Environmental Protection: The Critical Significance of Pre-Existing Tax Distortions," NBER Working Papers 5641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Newbery, David M G, 1987. "Road User Charges in Britain," CEPR Discussion Papers 174, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  30. Ahmad, Ehtisham & Stern, Nicholas, 1984. "The theory of reform and indian indirect taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 259-298, December.
  31. Henrik Hammar, Asa Lofgren and Thomas Sterner, 2004. "Political Economy Obstacles to Fuel Taxation," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 1-18.
  32. Williams, Roberton III, 2002. "Environmental Tax Interactions when Pollution Affects Health or Productivity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 261-270, September.
  33. William C. Wheaton, 1982. "The Long-Run Structure of Transportation and Gasoline Demand," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 439-454, Autumn.
  34. Parry, Ian, 2000. "Comparing the Efficiency of Alternative Policies for Reducing Traffic Congestion," Discussion Papers dp-00-28, Resources For the Future.
  35. Newbery, David M, 1990. "Pricing and Congestion: Economic Principles Relevant to Pricing Roads," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 22-38, Summer.
  36. Greene, David L, 1998. "Why CAFE worked," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(8), pages 595-613, July.
  37. Vickrey, William S, 1969. "Congestion Theory and Transport Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 251-60, May.
  38. Bovenberg, A.L. & Goulder, L.H., 1996. "Optimal environmental taxation in the presence of other taxes : General equilibrium analyses," Other publications TiSEM 5d4b7517-c5c8-4ef6-ab76-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  39. Deaton, Angus, 1981. "Optimal Taxes and the Structure of Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(5), pages 1245-60, September.
  40. Ted Gayer, 2001. "The Fatality Risks of Sport-Utility Vehicles, Vans and Pickups," EERI Research Paper Series EERI_RP_2001_10, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
  41. Samuel Fankhauser, 1994. "The Social Costs of Greenhouse Gas Emissions: An Expected Value Approach," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 157-184.
  42. J Peirson & I Skinner & R Vickerman, 1995. "Estimating the external costs of UK passenger transport: the first step towards an efficient transport market," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 27(12), pages 1977-1993, December.
  43. Dallas Burtraw & Alan Krupnick & Erin Mansur & David Austin & Deirdre Farrell, 1998. "Costs And Benefits Of Reducing Air Pollutants Related To Acid Rain," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(4), pages 379-400, October.
  44. Small, Kenneth A. & Gomez-Ibanez, Jose A., 1999. "Urban transportation," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: P. C. Cheshire & E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 1937-1999 Elsevier.
  45. David M Newbery, 1992. "Should Carbon Taxes Be Additional to Other Transport Fuel Taxes?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 49-60.
  46. David Pearce, 2003. "The Social Cost of Carbon and its Policy Implications," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 362-384.
  47. Gayer, Ted, 2001. "The Fatality Risks of Sport-Utility Vehicles, Vans, and Pickups," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt87r277n4, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  48. Parry, Ian & Small, Kenneth, 2002. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," Discussion Papers dp-02-12-, Resources For the Future.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax? (AER 2005) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-02-12-. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.