NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Economic Cost of Global Fuel Subsidies

Lucas W. Davis

NBER Working Paper No. 19736
Issued in December 2013
NBER Program(s):   EEE

By 2015, global oil consumption will reach 90 million barrels per day. In part, this high level of consumption reflects the fact that many countries provide subsidies for gasoline and diesel. This paper examines global fuel subsidies using the latest available data from the World Bank, finding that road-sector subsidies for gasoline and diesel totaled $110 billion in 2012. Pricing fuels below cost is inefficient because it leads to overconsumption. Under baseline assumptions about supply and demand elasticities, the total annual deadweight loss worldwide is $44 billion. Incorporating external costs increases the economic costs substantially.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19736

Published: Lucas W. Davis, 2014. "The Economic Cost of Global Fuel Subsidies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 581-85, May.

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