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Are Energy Efficiency Standards Justified?

  • Parry, Ian W.H.

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Evans, David A.
  • Oates, Wallace E.

This paper develops and parameterizes an overarching analytical framework to estimate the welfare effects of energy efficiency standards applied to automobiles and electricity-using durables. We also compare standards with sectoral and economywide pricing policies. The model captures a wide range of externalities and preexisting energy policies, and it allows for possible “misperceptions”—market failures that cause underinvestment in energy efficiency.Automobile fuel economy standards are not part of the first-best policy to reduce gasoline: fuel taxes are always superior because they reduce the externalities related to vehicle miles traveled. For the power sector, potential welfare gains from supplementing pricing instruments with efficiency standards are small at best. If pricing instruments are not feasible, a large misperceptions failure is required to justify efficiency standards, and even in this case the optimal reductions in fuel and electricity use are relatively modest. Reducing economywide carbon dioxide emissions through regulatory packages (combining efficiency and emissions standards) involves much higher costs than pricing instruments.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-10-59.

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Date of creation: 23 Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-10-59
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  8. Parry, Ian & Fischer, Carolyn & Harrington, Winston, 2004. "Should Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards Be Tightened?," Discussion Papers dp-04-53, Resources For the Future.
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  16. Jerry A. Hausman, 1979. "Individual Discount Rates and the Purchase and Utilization of Energy-Using Durables," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 33-54, Spring.
  17. Hassett, Kevin A. & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1995. "Energy tax credits and residential conservation investment: Evidence from panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 201-217, June.
  18. Geoffrey Heal, 2009. "Climate Economics: A Meta-Review and Some Suggestions for Future Research," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(1), pages 4-21, Winter.
  19. Burtraw, Dallas & Parry, Ian & Goulder, Lawrence & Williams III, Roberton, 1998. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Alternative Instruments for Environmental Protection in a Second-Best Setting," Discussion Papers dp-98-22, Resources For the Future.
  20. B. Howarth, Richard & Haddad, Brent M. & Paton, Bruce, 2000. "The economics of energy efficiency: insights from voluntary participation programs," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 477-486, June.
  21. Hassett, Kevin A. & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1993. "Energy conservation investment : Do consumers discount the future correctly?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 710-716, June.
  22. Yongyang Cai & Kenneth L. Judd & Thomas S. Lontzek, 2013. "The Social Cost of Stochastic and Irreversible Climate Change," NBER Working Papers 18704, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  24. Brown, Stephen P.A. & Huntington, Hillard G., 2010. "Reassessing the Oil Security Premium," Discussion Papers dp-10-05, Resources For the Future.
  25. Dermot Gately, 1980. "Individual Discount Rates and the Purchase and Utilization of Energy-Using Durables: Comment," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(1), pages 373-374, Spring.
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