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The Economics of Fuel Economy Standards

  • Parry, Ian

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Portney, Paul
  • Harrington, Winston

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Gruenspecht, Howard

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.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-03-44.

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Date of creation: 20 Nov 2003
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-03-44
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  1. Thorpe, Steven G, 1997. "Fuel Economy Standards, New Vehicle Sales, and Average Fuel Efficiency," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 311-26, May.
  2. David L. Greene & James R. Kahn & Robert C. Gibson, 1999. "Fuel Economy Rebound Effect for U.S. Household Vehicles," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 1-31.
  3. Rajeev K. Goel & Michael A. Nelson, 1999. "The Political Economy of Motor-Fuel Taxation," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 43-59.
  4. Greene, David L, 1991. "Short-run Pricing Strategies to Increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(1), pages 101-14, January.
  5. Hamilton, James D., 1996. "This is what happened to the oil price-macroeconomy relationship," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 215-220, October.
  6. Ian W. H. Parry & Kenneth A. Small, 2005. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1276-1289, September.
  7. Kwoka, John E, Jr, 1983. "The Limits of Market-Oriented Regulatory Techniques: The Case of Automotive Fuel Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 695-704, November.
  8. Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Waston, Mark, 1997. "Systematic Monetary Policy and the Effects of Oil Price Shocks," Working Papers 97-25, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  9. 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.
  10. Parry, Ian, 2003. "Comparing Alternative Policies to Reduce Traffic Accidents," Discussion Papers dp-03-07, Resources For the Future.
  11. Mansfield, Edwin, et al, 1977. "Social and Private Rates of Return from Industrial Innovations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 221-40, May.
  12. Kleit, Andrew N, 1990. "The Effect of Annual Changes in Automobile Fuel Economy Standards," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 151-72, June.
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