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Fuel Economy and Motor Vehicle Emissions
Winston Harrington
RFF Discussion Paper 96-28 | July 1996
RESEARCH TOPICS:
Abstract
The conventional wisdom is that there is no relationship between fuel economy and motor vehicle emissions, at least for new cars. The requirement that all vehicles meet a common emission standard in terms of grams per mile effectively breaks whatever link there might have been between fuel economy and emissions in uncontrolled (preregulatory) vehicles. As cars age, however, the emission control equipment tends to break down, providing reason to think that the conventional wisdom might do the same. This paper reports on an empirical examination of this proposition, by linking EPA fuel economy certification data to a large database of motor vehicle emission measurements collected by remote sensing. It is found that better fuel economy is strongly associated with lower emissions of CO and HC and that the effect gets stronger as vehicles age.
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