The Cato gas tax critique: is this claim true?

The second problem is that an increase in gasoline taxes would have very little effect on aggregate tailpipe emissions.  That’s because consumers will primarily respond to a fuel tax over the long run by purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles, not by driving less.  And for every incremental increase of automotive fuel efficiency, a 20 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled follows, and this increase in driving will greatly reduce the emissions reductions that we might otherwise see in response to the tax.  Economist J. Daniel Khazzoom, for instance, calculates that doubling the gasoline tax under the current regulatory regime would only reduce tailpipe emissions by 6 percent over the long run.

Here is the paper.  You’ll see the footnotes and citations in the original text.  Here is one relevant Khazzoom piece, JSTOR only.  How is this work regarded?


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