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Gasoline Tax as a Corrective Tax: Estimates for the United States, 1970-1991

Abstract:
Gasoline consumption creates externalities, through pollution, road congestion, accidents, and import dependence. Mat effect would a higher gasoline tax have on the related magnitudes: gasoline consumption, miles driven, and road fatalities? In this paper, separate models are estimated for gasoline use per mile, miles driven per driver, and fatalities per mile driven. We use data from 50 U.S. states and DC for 1970 through 1991, with a variety of stochastic specifications. The own-price elasticity of demand for gasoline is derived from projections with, and without, a higher gasoline tax, and is found to be between -0.12 and -0.17 in the short-run, and between -0.23 and -0.35 in the long-run. A tax of $1 per gallon would cut use by 15-20%, miles driven by 11-12%, and fatalities by 16 18% over 10 years, while raising almost $100 billion in revenue annually.

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Energy Specializations: Petroleum – Markets and Prices for Crude Oil and Products; Petroleum – Policy and Regulation; Energy and the Economy – Energy as a Productive Input; Energy and the Economy –Economic Growth and Energy Demand; Energy and the Economy – Resource Endowments and Economic Performance; Energy and the Economy – Energy Shocks and Business Cycles

JEL Codes:
L13 - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General
O13 - Economic Development: Agriculture; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Other Primary Products
Q34 - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts
F44 - International Business Cycles

Keywords: Gasoline tax, corrective tax, US, gasoline prices, decomposition, demand elasticity

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol17-No2-6


Published in Volume17, Number 2 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.