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Some New Ethanol Technology: Cost Competition and Adoption Effects in the Petroleum Market

Paul Gallagher and Donald Johnson

Year: 1999
Volume: Volume20
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol20-No2-4
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Abstract:
This study examines the adoption prospects and market effects for fuels made from agricultural materials. New ethanol processing methods may eventually enable ethanol production from cellulose materials. A cost analysis suggests that corn residue-based production could be competitive with petroleum based gasoline because land-cost recovery is unnecessary. A supply analysis for U.S. corn residue accounts for potential livestock use and environmental factors. Some simulations are based on a petroleum market model, the residue supply estimate, and adoption of the new ethanol processing technology; results suggest a petroleum price reduction. The benefit-cost analysis for this technology accounts for the oligopoly-offsetting effect of additional supplies and the option valuef or loss reductions in the event of an embargo. Substantial underestimates of the technology benefit will occur unless the chance of embargo and oligopoly pricing are taken into account.



The Economics of Energy Market Transformation Programs

Richard Duke and Daniel M. Kammen

Year: 1999
Volume: Volume20
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol20-No4-2
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Abstract:
This paper evaluates three energy-sector market transformation programs: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Lights program to promote on-grid efficient lighting; the World Bank Group's new Photovoltaic Market Transformation Initiative; and the federal grain ethanol subsidy. We develop a benefit-cost model that uses experience curves to estimate unit cost reductions as a function of cumulative production. Accounting for dynamic feedback between the demand response and price reductions from production experience raises the benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of the first two programs substantially. The BCR of the ethanol program, however, is approximately zero, illustrating a technology for which subsidization was not justified. Our results support a broader role for market transformation programs to commercialize new environmentally attractive technologies, but the ethanol experience suggests moderately funding a broad portfolio composed of technologies that meet strict selection criteria.



Is Arbitrage Tying the Price of Ethanol to that of Gasoline? Evidence from the Uptake of Flexible-Fuel Technology

Alberto Salvo and Cristian Huse

Year: 2011
Volume: Volume 32
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol32-No3-5
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Abstract:
Brazil is the only sizable economy to date to have developed a homegrown ubiquitously-retailed alternative to fossil fuels in light road transportation: ethanol from sugar cane. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the uptake of flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs) has been tremendous. Five years after their introduction, FFVs accounted for 90% of new car sales and 30% of the circulating car stock. We provide a stylized model of the sugar/ethanol industry which incorporates substitution by consumers, across ethanol and gasoline at the pump, and substitution by producers, across domestic regional and export markets for ethanol and sugar. We argue that the model stands up well to the empirical co-movement in prices at the pump in a panel of Brazilian states. The paper offers a case study of how agricultural and energy markets link up at the very micro level.



U.S. Ethanol Policy: Time to Reconsider?

James M. Griffin

Year: 2013
Volume: Volume 34
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.34.4.1
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Abstract:
This paper examines both the intended and unintended consequences of current U.S. ethanol policy. Originally, the 2007 legislation was intended to benefit consumers with lower gasoline prices, to reduce carbon emissions, and to promote oil security by displacing imported oil with domestically produced ethanol. While well-intentioned, the realized benefits have been minimal to consumers, the environment, and oil security. Alternatively, the unintended consequences on corn and other food commodity prices are having severe repercussions particularly in developing countries where consumers have more limited substitution possibilities. The extreme drought of 2012 illustrated the folly of mandating fixed quantities of ethanol use in gasoline, while allowing the residual to be left for food uses. It is time to reconsider and rescind the ethanol mandates.



Ethanol Production and Gasoline Prices: A Spurious Correlation

Christopher R. Knittel and Aaron Smith

Year: 2015
Volume: Volume 36
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.1.4
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Abstract:
Ethanol made from corn comprises 10% of U.S. gasoline, up from 3% in 2003. This dramatic increase was spurred by recent policy initiatives such as the Renewable Fuel Standard and state-level blend mandates and supported by direct subsidies such as the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit. Some proponents of ethanol have argued that ethanol production greatly lowers gasoline prices, with one industry group claiming it reduced gasoline prices by 89 cents in 2010 and $1.09 in 2011. The 2010 figure has been cited in numerous speeches by Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack. We show that these estimates were generated by implausible economic assumptions and spurious statistical correlations. To support this last point, we use the same statistical models and find that ethanol production "decreases" natural gas prices, but "increases" unemployment in both the U.S. and Europe. We even show that ethanol production "increases" the ages of our children. Overall, we see no compelling reason to believe that the effect of ethanol use on gasoline prices has been more than $0.10 per gallon.



Integration in Gasoline and Ethanol Markets in Brazil over Time and Space under the Flex-fuel Technology

Hector M. Nuñez and Jesús Otero

Year: 2017
Volume: Volume 38
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.2.hnun
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Abstract:
We employ a pair-wise approach to analyse regional integration in the gasoline and ethanol markets in Brazil. Using weekly price data for these two fuels at the state level over a period of almost ten years, we find that more than half of the fuel price differentials are stationary, which reveals the importance of allowing for spatial considerations when testing for market integration. We also find that the speed at which prices converge to the long-run equilibrium depends upon the distance between states, the differential in sugarcane mills density between states, and the similarity between tax regimes. Other demand and supply factors such as population density, gas stations density, sugarcane mills density and GDP per capita are not statistically significant.



Energy and Agricultural Commodity Markets Interaction: An Analysis of Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Corn, Soybean, and Ethanol Prices

Song-Zan Chiou-Wei, Sheng-Hung Chen, and Zhen Zhu

Year: 2019
Volume: Volume 40
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.2.schi
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Abstract:
This paper broadens the analysis of the interactions between energy and agricultural commodity markets by focusing on five major commodities: oil, natural gas, soybean, corn, and ethanol, and intends to provide more updated information regarding the degree of the connection among the markets. We estimate a DCC-MGARCH model to accommodate the dynamic and changing degree of interconnections among the five markets with respect to price levels and price volatilities. In doing so, we control for additional economic variables including oil and gas inventories, interest rate spread, exchange rate and economic activities. Our empirical evidence suggests that there are varying degrees of interconnections among the energy and agricultural commodities in the long term as well as the short term, but the interactions among the agricultural commodities and ethanol are generally higher than the interactions between oil and gas and agricultural markets. In addition, we reveal some weak evidence of commodity market speculation. The estimated conditional volatility correlations suggest that volatility spillovers among the markets were time dependent and dynamic.





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