Explaining “peak car” with economic variables

Many western countries have seen a plateau and subsequent decrease of car travel during the 21st century. What has generated particular interest and debate is the statement that the development cannot be explained by changes in traditional explanatory factors such as gross domestic product (GDP) and fuel prices. Instead, it has been argued, the observed trends are indications of substantial changes in lifestyles, preferences and attitudes to car travel; what is being experienced is not just a temporary plateau, but a true “peak car”. However, this study shows that the traditional variables GDP and fuel price are in fact sufficient to explain the observed trends in car traffic in all the countries included in the authors' study: the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Sweden and (to a large extent) Australia and Germany. The authors argue that the importance of the fuel price increases in the early 2000s has been underappreciated in the studies that shaped the later debate. Results also indicate that GDP elasticities tend to decrease with rising GDP, and that fuel price elasticities tend to increase at high price levels and during periods of rapid price increases.

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  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01603348
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 6 2016 4:05PM