Consumer Myopia in Vehicle Purchases: Evidence from a Natural Experiment
NBER Working Paper No. 25845
A central question in the analysis of fuel-economy policy is whether consumers are myopic with regards to future fuel costs. We provide the first evidence on consumer valuation of fuel economy from a natural experiment. We examine the short-run equilibrium effects of an exogenous restatement of fuel-economy ratings that affected 1.6 million vehicles. Using the implied changes in willingness-to-pay, we find that consumers act myopically: consumers are indifferent between $1 in discounted fuel costs and 15-38 cents in the vehicle purchase price when discounting at 4%. This myopia persists under a wide range of assumptions.
You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25845