Regional Patterns of U.S. Household Carbon Emissions
Climatic Change, September 2009
17 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2009
Date Written: March 2009
Market-based policies to address fossil fuel-related externalities including climate change typically operate by raising the price of those fuels. Increases in energy prices have important consequences for a typical U.S. household that spent almost $4,000 per year on electricity, fuel oil, natural gas, and gasoline in 2005. A key question for policymakers is how these consequences vary over different regions and subpopulations across the country - especially as adjustment and compensation programs are designed to protect more vulnerable regions. To answer this question, we use non-publicly available data from the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey over the period 1984-2000 to estimate long-run geographic variation in household use of electricity, fuel oil, natural gas, and gasoline, as well as the associated incidence of a $10 per ton tax on carbon dioxide (ignoring behavioral response). We find substantial variation: incidence from the tax range from $97 dollars per year per household in New York County, New York to $235 per year per household in Tensas Parish, Louisiana. This variation can be explained by differences in energy use, carbon intensity of electricity generation, and electricity regulation.
JEL Classification: Q2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation