This paper considers the impact of increased energy prices on the distribution of U.S. economic activity and population. It then draws some implications for highway finance. The paper is organized into three main sections. The first, entitled World View: International and National Patterns, considers some of the major indicators on the world and national energy economy. It primarily provides background information and furnishes necessary underpinning to arguments and interpretations in the rest of the paper. The second section, Energy and Population Distribution, focuses on both production and consumption responses to higher energy prices and how these are traced out geographically. The geographic focus involves both (a) state and region and (b) local settlement. The author's thesis is that higher energy prices are likely to intensify the shift to the sunbelt, from both the production and consumption side, including impacts on both the household consumer and the industry. They are also likely to cause higher urban densities and to intensify the shift from larger to smaller places. The third section draws some implications for state transportation and focuses on state highway finance. A basic message throughout is that much of the United States' energy troubles stem from a reluctance to allow domestic prices to rise to world levels. This reluctance carries over to a reluctance to raise highway motor fuel taxes. However, unless fuel taxes are raised, state highway funding in the future may be in considerably worse straits than it is now.

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    • Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. This paper appeared in Transportation Research Board Special Report No. 189: State Transportation Issues and Actions.
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  • Authors:
    • Hoch, Irving
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  • Publication Date: 1980

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  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 18-37
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  • Accession Number: 00315327
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-029 536
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Oct 27 1980 12:00AM