Getting Cars Off the Road: The Cost-Effectiveness of an Episodic Pollution Control Program

Maureen L. Cropper, Yi Jiang, Anna Alberini, Patrick Baur

NBER Working Paper No. 15904
Issued in April 2010
NBER Program(s):Environment and Energy Economics

Ground-level ozone remains a serious problem in the United States. Because ozone non-attainment is a summer problem, episodic rather than continuous controls of ozone precursors are possible. We evaluate the costs and effectiveness of an episodic scheme that requires people to buy permits to drive on high-ozone days. We estimate the demand function for permits based on a survey of 1,300 households in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Assuming that all vehicle owners comply with the scheme, the permit program would reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 50 tons and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 42 tons per Code Red day at a permit price of $75. Allowing for non-compliance by 15 percent of respondents reduces the effectiveness of the scheme to 39 tons of VOCs and 33 tons of NOx per day. The cost per ozone season of achieving these reductions is approximately $9 million (2008 USD). This compares favorably with permanent methods of reducing VOCs that cost $645 per ton per year.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15904

Published: Maureen Cropper & Yi Jiang & Anna Alberini & Patrick Baur, 2014. "Getting Cars Off the Road: The Cost-Effectiveness of an Episodic Pollution Control Program," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 57(1), pages 117-143, January. citation courtesy of

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