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Energy taxes : traditional efficiency effects and environmental implications

Author: Lawrence H Goulder; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : National Bureau of Economic Research, [1993]
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), working paper no. 4582.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : National government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Abstract: This paper examines 'traditional' (non-environmental) efficiency consequences and environmental effects of two energy tax policies: a tax on fossil and synthetic fuels based on Btu (or energy) content and a tax on consumer purchases of gasoline. It uses a model that uniquely combines attention to details of the U.S. tax system with a consolidated treatment of U.S. energy use and pollution emissions. On  Read more...
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Material Type: Document, Government publication, National government publication, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Lawrence H Goulder; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 70045592
Notes: "December 1993."
"Financial support from the National Science Foundation (Grant SBR-9310362) ..."
Description: 1 online resource (50, [14] pages) : illustrations.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), working paper no. 4582.
Responsibility: Lawrence H. Goulder.

Abstract:

Abstract: This paper examines 'traditional' (non-environmental) efficiency consequences and environmental effects of two energy tax policies: a tax on fossil and synthetic fuels based on Btu (or energy) content and a tax on consumer purchases of gasoline. It uses a model that uniquely combines attention to details of the U.S. tax system with a consolidated treatment of U.S. energy use and pollution emissions. On traditional efficiency grounds, each of the energy taxes emerges as more costly to the economy than increases in personal or corporate income taxes of equal revenue yield. Simulation experiments indicate that the excess costs of energy taxes are due partly to their relatively narrow tax base. The Btu tax's application to gross output (as compared with net output under an income tax) serves to expand its excess costs; in contrast, the gasoline tax's focus on consumption (as opposed to income) tends to mitigate its excess costs. On the environmental side, we find that for each of eight major air pollutants considered, energy taxes induce emissions reductions that are at least nine times larger than the reductions under the income tax alternatives. Overall, this study indicates that the Btu and gasoline taxes considered are inferior to the alternatives on narrow efficiency grounds but superior on environmental grounds. Whether the environmental attractions of energy taxes are large enough to offset their relatively high non-environmental costs remains an open question.

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