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The Economics of Fuel Economy Standards

Author

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  • Parry, Ian

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Portney, Paul
  • Harrington, Winston

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Gruenspecht, Howard

Abstract

This paper discusses several rationales for the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program, including reduced oil dependence, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and the possibility that fuel saving benefits from higher standards might exceed added vehicle costs. We then summarize what can be said about the welfare effects of tightening standards, accounting for prior fuel taxes, and perverse effects on congestion and traffic accidents through the impact of improved fuel economy on the incentive to drive. Implications of CAFE on local air pollution, and the controversy over CAFE, vehicle weight, and road safety, are also discussed. Finally, we describe ways in which the existing CAFE program could be substantially improved and identify a variety of alternative, and much superior, policy approaches.

Suggested Citation

  • Parry, Ian & Portney, Paul & Harrington, Winston & Gruenspecht, Howard, 2003. "The Economics of Fuel Economy Standards," Discussion Papers dp-03-44, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-03-44
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    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-03-44.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kenneth A. Small & Kurt Van Dender, 2007. "Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 25-52.
    2. Hymel, Kent M. & Small, Kenneth A. & Dender, Kurt Van, 2010. "Induced demand and rebound effects in road transport," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1220-1241, December.
    3. Liu, Weiwei, 2015. "Gasoline taxes or efficiency standards? A heterogeneous household demand analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 54-64.
    4. Agostini, Claudio A. & Jiménez, Johanna, 2015. "The distributional incidence of the gasoline tax in Chile," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 243-252.
    5. Michael L. Anderson & Maximilian Auffhammer, 2014. "Pounds That Kill: The External Costs of Vehicle Weight," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(2), pages 535-571.
    6. Sofronis Clerides & Theodoros Zachariadis, 2006. "Are standards Effective in Improving Automobile Fuel Economy?," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 6-2006, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    7. Achim Voß, 2015. "How Disagreement About Social Costs Leads to Inefficient Energy-Productivity Investment," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 60(4), pages 521-548, April.
    8. Claudio Agostini, 2010. "Efectos del Diferencial de Impuestos a las Gasolinas en la Demanda de Automóviles," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv243, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
    9. Austin, David & Dinan, Terry, 2005. "Clearing the air: The costs and consequences of higher CAFE standards and increased gasoline taxes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 562-582, November.
    10. Parry, Ian W. H., 2004. "Comparing alternative policies to reduce traffic accidents," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 346-368, September.
    11. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2009. "Market-Based Policy Options to Control U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 5-27, Spring.
    12. von Rosenstiel, Dirk Peters & Heuermann, Daniel F. & Hüsig, Stefan, 2015. "Why has the introduction of natural gas vehicles failed in Germany?—Lessons on the role of market failure in markets for alternative fuel vehicles," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 91-101.
    13. Clerides, Sofronis & Zachariadis, Theodoros, 2008. "The effect of standards and fuel prices on automobile fuel economy: An international analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2657-2672, September.
    14. Jeremy West & Mark Hoekstra & Jonathan Meer & Steven L. Puller, 2015. "Vehicle Miles (Not) Traveled: Why Fuel Economy Requirements Don't Increase Household Driving," NBER Working Papers 21194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Philippe Barla & Bernard Lamonde & Luis Miranda-Moreno & Nathalie Boucher, 2009. "Traveled distance, stock and fuel efficiency of private vehicles in Canada: price elasticities and rebound effect," Transportation, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 389-402, July.
    16. Barla, Philippe & Proost, Stef, 2012. "Energy efficiency policy in a non-cooperative world," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 2209-2215.
    17. West, Jeremy & Hoekstra, Mark & Meer, Jonathan & Puller, Steven L., 2017. "Vehicle miles (not) traveled: Fuel economy requirements, vehicle characteristics, and household driving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 65-81.

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