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Public Support for Pollution Fee Policies for Motor Vehicles: Survey Results
Winston Harrington, Alan J. Krupnick, Anna Alberini
RFF Discussion Paper 97-13 | December 1996
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Abstract

In this paper we report on the results of a telephone survey conducted in Southern California during August and September 1996. The purpose of the survey was to inform respondents about a set of rather complex pricing policies designed to reduce motor vehicle emissions and to estimate respondent support for those policies. After receiving extensive information about these policies, respondents were polled on whether they would support, i.e., vote for, any or all of these options.

The pollution fee survey elicited support for a plan that levied a fee on vehicles in the region, depending on the vehicle's emissions per mile and on the miles driven. The sample was then split in two, with half the respondents being told that a portion of the revenues would be returned to the public in the form of reductions in motor vehicle fees or sales tax reductions, and half told that these returns would be made in the form of coupons. Nearly 40 percent of respondents agreed to support the base plan (42 percent of those expressing an opinion). More than 50 percent supported the fees with rebates, including support of 54 percent when all the available revenues are returned to the public (57 percent of the sample expressing an opinion). Support for the coupon policy was intermediate between the base and rebate policies, attracting 42 percent of the sample (45 percent of those expressing an opinion).

Statistical analyses were performed on the data to explain the voting patterns observed. Generally, the levels of support were significantly affected by the design features of the plans, such as the size of the fee paid and the rebate, as well as by a host of socio-demographic and perceptual variables, such as ethnicity, age, political affiliation, expected efficacy of the policy, and the degree to which air pollution affects the respondent or his or her family. Examination of these statistical results may be useful in the development of pollution fee programs to present to the public, as well as in the design of public information campaigns and the allocation of marketing resources to win support for these programs.

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