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Lose Some, Save Some: Obesity, Automobile Demand, and Gasoline Consumption in the U.S

  • Li, Shanjun

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Liu, Yanyan
  • Zhang, Junjie

This paper examines the unexplored link between the prevalence of overweight and obesity and vehicle demand in the United States. Exploring annual sales data of new passenger vehicles at the model level in 48 U.S. counties from 1999 to 2005, we find that a 10 percentage point increase in the rate of overweight and obesity reduces the average MPG of new vehicles demanded by 2.5 percent: an effect that requires a 30 cent increase in gasoline prices to counteract. Our findings suggest that policies to reduce overweight and obesity can have additional benefits for energy security and the environment.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-09-34.

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Date of creation: 31 Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-09-34
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.rff.org

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  1. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
  2. Ian W. H. Parry & Margaret Walls & Winston Harrington, 2007. "Automobile Externalities and Policies," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(2), pages 373-399, June.
  3. Arie Beresteanu & Shanjun Li, 2011. "Gasoline Prices, Government Support, And The Demand For Hybrid Vehicles In The United States," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(1), pages 161-182, 02.
  4. Shanjun Li, 2012. "Traffic safety and vehicle choice: quantifying the effects of the ‘arms race’ on American roads," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(1), pages 34-62, 01.
  5. Sarah E. West & Roberton C. Williams III, 2005. "The Cost of Reducing Gasoline Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 294-299, May.
  6. Kenneth A. Small & Kurt Van Dender, 2006. "Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect," Working Papers 050603, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  7. Shanjun Li & Christopher Timmins & Roger H. von Haefen, 2009. "How Do Gasoline Prices Affect Fleet Fuel Economy?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 113-37, August.
  8. 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.
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