Estimating direct rebound effects for personal automotive travel in Great Britain

Stapleton, Lee, Sorrell, Steven and Schwanen, Tim (2015) Estimating direct rebound effects for personal automotive travel in Great Britain. Working Paper. SPRU, University of Sussex.

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Direct rebound effects result from increased consumption of cheaper energy services. For example, more fuel-efficient cars encourage more car travel. This study is the first to quantify this effect for personal automotive travel in Great Britain. We use aggregate time-series data on transport activity, fuel consumption and other relevant variables over the period 1970-2011 and estimate the direct rebound effect from the elasticity of vehicle kilometres with respect to: a) vehicle fuel efficiency (km/MJ); b) the fuel cost of driving (£/km); and c) road fuel prices (£/MJ). We estimate a total of 54 models, paying careful attention to methodological issues and model diagnostics. Taking changes in fuel efficiency as the explanatory variable, we find no evidence of a long-run direct rebound effect in Great Britain over this period. However, taking changes in either the fuel cost of driving or fuel prices as the explanatory variable we estimate a direct rebound effect in the range 10% to 27% with a mean of 18%. This estimate is consistent with the results of US studies and suggests that one fifth of the potential fuel savings from improved car fuel efficiency may have been eroded through increased driving. We also show how the normalisation of distance travelled (per capita, per adult or per driver)
affects the results obtained.

Item Type: Reports and working papers (Working Paper)
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit > SPRU Working Paper Series
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
Depositing User: Lee Stapleton
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2015 08:56
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2015 08:56

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