ECONOMIC IMPACT OF AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL COST INCREASES ON HOUSEHOLDS

The effects of governmental policy options for conserving gasoline and improving air quality on the families that own and operate automobiles in the U.S. were studied. The purpose was to determine the pattern of household effects across income groups and to investigate various actions that the families may take to alleviate these effects. The five major findings were: (1) the wealthier half of the households in the United States account for almost three-fourths of total household gasoline consumption, and thus, policies for reducing national gasoline consumption must be targeted primarily on these middle and upper income families; (2) poorer households spend a significantly greater percentage of their income on gasoline than more affluent families, so, the gasoline tax and all increases in it are regressive; (3) there are several options available to households for offsetting automobile travel cost increases without reducing their auto trips or total mileage; (some of these options, such as deferring maintenance and driving older cars, do not result in reduced gasoline consumption); (4) more affluent families can, in general, offset larger cost increases than poorer families without reducing their total personal travel; and (5) the most valuable option open to most families is to purchase cars with greater fuel economy, and for most families purchasing new cars, the savings resulting from a 5 mpg increase in fuel economy can offset a $600 increase in the purchase price of the car. (ERA citation 03:018591)

  • Corporate Authors:

    RAND Corporation

    1776 Main Street, P.O. Box 2138
    Santa Monica, CA  USA  90407-2138

    Department of Energy

    1000 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  USA  20585
  • Authors:
    • Stucker, J P
    • Kirkwood, T F
  • Publication Date: 1977-7

Media Info

  • Pagination: 72 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00180599
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 19 1978 12:00AM