How To Save Gasoline: Public Policy Alternatives for the Automobile (Executive Summary)
Jan 1, 1974
Public Policy Alternatives for the Automobile
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This study sought to devise analytical tools to evaluate the effects on private transportation of national energy conservation measures, to apply these tools in a systematic analysis to compare the effectiveness of several alternative policy instruments or combinations of instruments, and to draw broad policy implications useful to policymakers. To forecast gasoline consumption by automobiles over the next two decades, the authors linked together several complex models. The research suggests three broad implications for gasoline conservation policy, and these are presented and interpreted. The authors then discuss the implications of initiating specific policies intended to conserve fuel and how their impacts vary over time. The first findings suggest that, aside from limitations on gasoline supply, the only way to achieve significant gasoline savings in the near term is to increase the pump price of gasoline. In the longer term, improvements in new car fuel economy through weight reduction or technological improvements offer greater potential for energy conservation than do gasoline taxes (short of extremely high taxes). Because both classes of policies have varied impacts, some combination of policies may be more effective, depending on national energy conservation objectives.
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