The Demand for Ethanol as a Gasoline Substitute
70 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2010 Last revised: 14 Oct 2013
Date Written: September 2010
This paper estimates household preferences for ethanol as a gasoline substitute. I develop a theoretical model linking the shape of the ethanol demand curve to the distribution of price ratios at which individual households switch fuels. I estimate the model using data from many retail fueling stations. Demand is price-sensitive with a mean elasticity of 2.5-3.5. I find that preferences are heterogeneous with many households willing to pay a premium for ethanol. This reduces the simulated cost of an ethanol content standard, since some households choose ethanol without large subsidies; simulated costs are still high relative to likely environmental benefits.
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