Published on 15 Apr 2019

​Economics Seminar | Cars or Trucks? The Impact of Attribute Basing in Fuel Economy Regulations

EventCars or Trucks? The Impact of Attribute Basing in Fuel Economy Regulations
Asst Prof Jianwei Xing
Peking University
Date15 April 2019 (Monday)
Time3:30pm – 5:00pm
VenueHSS Meeting Room 6 (HSS-04-91)

About the Seminar
Attribute basing is a common regulatory strategy in environmental regulations: in an effort to reduce the externality-generating dimension of a product, regulations impose standards whose stringency is based on a secondary attribute. This study provides empirical evidence of the welfare consequences of attribute basing in the context of U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Throughout the history of CAFÉ, the policy stringency has been based on a discrete attribute: the classification of vehicles as either passenger cars or light trucks, with the latter being subject to less stringent target. This differential treatment of cars and trucks has perverse implications as it potentially distorts the fleet composition and increases the tailpipe emissions and accident-related externalities because of a larger market share of light trucks. By estimating a structural model of vehicle demand and supply incorporating CAFE credit trading, this study stimulates a counterfactual scenario by removing the standard split and finds that attribute basing results in a 4.9 percent increase in the sales of light trucks and a corresponding social welfare loss that translates into $2.38 billion om 2014. Attribute basing also leads to welfare redistribution among automakers: the U.S. domestic firms benefit from the attribute basing with a profit increase of 1.8 percent at the expense of Asian and European automakers with a profit loss of 1.5 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.