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Fuel Economy Rebound Effect for U.S. Household Vehicles

David L. Greene, James R. Kahn and Robert C. Gibson

Year: 1999
Volume: Volume20
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol20-No3-1
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Abstract:
This paper presents an econometric estimation of the "rebound effect" for household vehicle travel in the United States based on analysis of survey data collected by the Energy Information Administration (ELA) at approximately threeyear intervals over a 15-year period. The rebound effect measures the tendency to "take back" potential energy savings from fuel economy improvements as increased travel. Vehicle use models were estimated for one-, two-, three-, four-, and five-vehicle households. The results confirm recent estimates based on national or state-level data: a long-run "take back" of about 20 percent of potential energy savings. Consumer responses to changes in fuel economy or fuel price per gallon appear to be equal and opposite in sign. Recognizing the interdependencies among miles of travel, fuel economy and price is key to obtaining meaningful results.



Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect

Kenneth A. Small and Kurt Van Dender

Year: 2007
Volume: Volume 28
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol28-No1-2
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Abstract:
We estimate the rebound effect for motor vehicles, by which improved fuel efficiency causes additional travel, using a pooled cross section of US states for 1966-2001. Our model accounts for endogenous changes in fuel efficiency, distinguishes between autocorrelation and lagged effects, includes a measure of the stringency of fuel-economy standards, and allows the rebound effect to vary with income, urbanization, and the fuel cost of driving. At sample averages of variables, our simultaneous-equations estimates of the short- and long-run rebound effect are 4.5% and 22.2%. But rising real income caused it to diminish substantially over the period, aided by falling fuel prices. With variables at 1997-2001 levels, our estimates are only 2.2% and 10.7%, considerably smaller than values typically assumed for policy analysis. With income and starting fuel efficiency at 1997-2001 levels and fuel prices 58 percent higher, the estimates are still only 3.1% and 15.3%, respectively.



Should Automobile Fuel Economy Standards be Tightened?

Carolyn Fischer, Winston Harrington and Ian W.H. Parry

Year: 2007
Volume: Volume 28
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol28-No4-1
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Abstract:
This paper develops analytical and numerical models to explain and estimate the welfare effects of raising Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for new passenger vehicles. The analysis encompasses a wide range of scenarios concerning consumers valuation of fuel economy and the full economic costs of adopting fuel-saving technologies. It also accounts for, and improves estimates of, CAFE's impact on externalities from local and global pollution, oil dependence, traffic congestion and accidents. The bottom line is that it is difficult to make an airtight case either for or against tightening CAFE on pure efficiency grounds, as the magnitude and direction of the welfare change varies across different, plausible scenarios.



A Microeconomic Framework for Evaluating Energy Efficiency Rebound and Some Implications

Severin Borenstein

Year: 2015
Volume: Volume 36
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.1.1
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Abstract:
Improving energy efficiency can lower the cost of using energy-intensive goods and may create wealth from the energy savings, both of which lead to increased energy use, a "rebound" effect. I present a theoretical framework that parses rebound into economic income and substitution effects. The framework leads to new insights about the magnitude of rebound when goods are not priced at marginal cost and when consumers are imperfect optimizers, as well as the role of technological progress in rebound. I then explore the implications of this framework with illustrative calculations for improved auto fuel economy and lighting efficiency. These suggest that rebound is unlikely to more than offset the savings from energy efficiency investments (known as "backfire"), but rebound likely reduces the net savings by roughly 10% to 40% from these energy efficiency improvements.



The Rebound Effect for Passenger Vehicles

Joshua Linn

Year: 2016
Volume: Volume 37
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.37.2.jlin
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Abstract:
The United States and many other countries are dramatically tightening fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles. Higher fuel economy reduces per-mile driving costs and may increase miles traveled, known as the rebound effect. The magnitude of the elasticity of miles traveled to fuel economy is an important parameter in welfare analysis of fuel economy standards, but all previous estimates from micro data impose at least one of three behavioral assumptions: (a) fuel economy is uncorrelated with vehicle and household attributes; (b) for multi-vehicle households, each vehicle can be treated as an independent observation in statistical analysis; and (c) the effect of gasoline prices on vehicle miles traveled is inversely proportional to the effect of fuel economy. Two approaches to relaxing these assumptions yield a large estimate of the rebound effect; a one percent fuel economy increase raises driving 0.2 or 0.4 percent, depending on the approach, but the estimates are not statistically significantly different from one another.



What is the Effect of Fuel Efficiency Information on Car Prices? Evidence from Switzerland

Anna Alberini, Markus Bareit and Massimo Filippini

Year: 2016
Volume: Volume 37
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.37.3.aalb
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Abstract:
Inadequate information is often identified as a potential cause for the so-called "energy efficiency gap," i.e., the sluggish pace of investment in energy efficiency technologies, which potentially affects a wide variety of energy-using goods, including road vehicles. To improve the fuel economy of vehicles, in 2003 Switzerland introduced a system of fuel economy and CO2 emissions labels for new passenger cars, based on grades from A (best) to G (worst). We have data for all cars approved for sale in Switzerland from 2000 to 2011. Hedonic regressions suggest that there is a fuel-economy premium, but do not allow us to identify whether the fuel economy label has an additional effect on car price, above and beyond the effect of fuel economy. To circumvent this problem, we turn to a sharp regression discontinuity design based on the mechanism used by the government to assign cars to the fuel economy label, which estimates the effect of the A label on price to be 6-11%. Matching estimators find this effect to be 5%.





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