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Energy Journal Issue

The Energy Journal
Volume 12, Number 4

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Optimizing Tax Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Cases Without Curtailing Growth

Roger E. Brinner, Michael G. Shelby, Joyce M. Yanchar and Alex Cristofaro

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-No4-1
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Increasing federal gasoline taxes is one of the policy options available for reducing gasoline consumption and the resulting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that contribute to global warming. At the request of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DRI/MeGraw-Hill (DRI) estimated the levels of gasoline tax that would be necessary to stabilize CO2 emissions from the light-vehicle fleet over a 20-year period, and the economic impacts of such a tax. Three options for utilizing the revenues generated are examined: a reduction of the federal budget deficit, a reduction in personal and corporate income taxes, and a reduction in the emnployer paid portion of payroll taxes. Each option would yield markedly different levels of economic performance: while the first two options would result in reductions in economic growth, the third option (a reduction in the employer-paid portion of payroll taxes) would result in relatively slight negative economic impacts in the short term and positive economic impacts in the long term.

Manufacturing Energy Use in Eight OECD Countries: Trends through 1988

Richard B. Howarth and Lee Schipper

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-No4-2
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This paper reviews the evolution of manufacturing energy use in eight industrialized nations: West Germany, Denmark, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Manufacturing energy use fell in these nations by 16% between 1973 and 1988 while manufacturing value-added increased by 41%. Reduced energy intensities in six industry groups -- paper and pulp; chemicals; stone, clay and glass; iron and steel; nonferrous metals; and other manufacturing -- were the primary source of this apparent decoupling of energy use and output. Between 1973 and 1988, intensity reductions would have driven down sectoral energy use by 32% if the level and composition of output had remained constant. Structural change, or shifts in the product mi, would have reduced energy use by 11% if the total level of output and the energy intensities of each industry group had remained constant.

Testing for Barriers to Energy Conservation -- an Application of a Vintage Model

Alan Ingham, James Maw and Alistair Ulph

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-No4-3
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In this paper we use a sophisticated vintage model of the production structure of the U.K manufacturing sector to analyze the pattern of energy conservation over the period 1971-1987 and to test whether there is evidence of significant market imperfections which could act as barriers to energy conservation.

The Welfare Impact of Rising Block Pricing: Electricity in Colombia

Rodney Maddock and Elkin Castano

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-No4-4
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In Medellin, Colombia, electricity prices follow an unusual system of rising block prices. The stated objective of the policy is to redistribute income. In this paper we calculate the degree of redistribution achieved relative to that of a horizontal price schedule. We also calculate the efficiency cost of discrimination. The data come from a survey of over 1000 residential users of electricity.

Onsite Backup Generation and Interruption Insurance for Electricity Distribution

Joseph A. Doucet and Shinuel S. Oren

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-No4-5
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This paper extends recent work on interruption insurance for electric power by introducing onsite backup generation capacity as a supplementary form of interruption insurance. The basic model of interruption insurance as a mechanism for differential pricing is reviewed, the incentive for providing onsite backup generation capacity is demonstrated and the interaction between onsite backup generation and interruption insurance is analyzed. Two types of onsite backup, customer and utility owned, are discussed. It is shown that individuals' economic incentives to install onsite backup generation dominate the utility's incentive. Hence customer owned onsite backup decisions will pre-empt the utility's plan to mitigate compensation payments by providing onsite backup generation.

The Trade-Off between Economic and Environmental Objectives in Japan's Power Sector

Hisashi Amagai and PingSun Leung

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-No4-6
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The current concern about global warming has made it necessary for the electric power industry in Japan to reexamine its power generation mix plan. Past studies on the optimal power generation mix in Japan have only emphasized economic efficiency. Thermal power generation producing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions has a lower generation cost than hydropower and new energy sources. Hence, there is a trade-off between generation-cost minimization (the economic objective) and COz emission minimization (the environmental objective). This paper presents a quantitative study of the trade-off between these two objectives in the year 2000, and discusses the nature of the trade-off curve and the extent of power generation by source.

The Impact of an Oil Market Disruption on the Price of Oil: A Sensitivity Analysis

William L. Helkie

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-No4-7
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This paper provides a quantitative analysis of the change in the price of oil due to an exogenous change in the supply of oil. It first outlines the role of oil in large-scale econometric models and reviews the theory upon which the oil/energy sectors in these models are based. It then presents a small reduced form of the large-scale econometric model and discusses the model's key parameters. The model is solved in order to determine the price of oil in the event of an oil supply disruption. The paper then discusses the sensitivity of the price effects of an oil market disruption to changes in the model's parameters and compares this range of price estimates to the three major supply disruptions of the past two decades.

Testing Alternative Hypotheses of Oil Producer Behavior

Carol Dahl and Mine Yucel

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-No4-8
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Conventional wisdom holds that OPEC is a weakly functioning cartel with non-OPEC producers forming a "competitive fringe." However, several studies have challenged the cartel hypothesis for OPEC with a few even challenging the competitive hypothesis for non-OPEC producers. In this paper, we test competing hypotheses (which include dynamic optimization, target-revenue, competition, cartel, and swing production) for production decisions for both OPEC and non-OPEC producers. Recently developed cost data allow these tests to be done on the most general model to date. In our tests, we find no evidence for dynamic optimization. Formal target-revenue models are rejected, but there is some evidence that revenue targeting may influence production for some OPEC countries and a few non-OPEC countries. We find no evidence that any of the OPEC countries behave in a competitive manner. More surprisingly, we find no evidence that the fringe is competitive. Using co-integration tests, we are unable to find formal evidence of coordination in the form of strict cartel behavior or swing production among OPEC countries. Taken as a whole, the evidence suggests that loose coordination or duopoly is most consistent with OPEC behavior.

Limits on the Economic Effectiveness of a Carbon Tax

Robert K Kaufmann

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-No4-9
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Much of the discussion regarding policies to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases focuses on least-cost strategies. Policies that minimize costs are desirable because they are economically more efficient than policies that are based on a command and control strategy (Gasloms and Stram, 1990). Among the many least-cost policies now under consideration, a carbon tax has received the most attention. As currently envisioned, a carbon tax would be levied on users of fossil fuels according to the amount of carbon that is emitted when the fuel is burned. Because the combustion of coal emits more CO2 per heat unit than oil, which emits more CO2 per heat unit than natural gas, the tax on coal would be larger than the tax on oil, which would be larger than the tax on natural gas.The fuel specific charges that would be imposed by a carbon tax are a popular policy option because many believe that a carbon tax will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide in an economically efficient manner. That is, a carbon tax will reduce the use of fossil fuels by spurring technical change and by inducing the substitution of capital, labour, and non-energy materials. Furthermore, a carbon tax will reduce emissions of CO2 by inducing substitution of fuels that emit less CO2 per heat unit. The reduction in emissions that is achieved by interfuel substitution is caused by the differences in the size of the tax on coal, oil, and natural gas. Because the tax on coal is largest, the price of coal will rise relative to oil and natural gas and users will substitute oil or natural gas for coal.