Common Resources

Welcome to Common Resources, RFF’s blog, where RFF experts and other professionals examine the economics of environmental and natural resource policies, provide policy-relevant insight and commentary, and unveil new RFF research. 

For questions about the blog, contact Pete Nelson, RFF communications director and managing editor of Common Resources, at

Common Resources

  • Taxing Oil: Good Climate Policy?

    Feb 5, 2016 | Stephen P.A. Brown

    As part of a new climate initiative, the Obama administration is proposing a $10-per-barrel tax on oil companies. The details remain unclear as to whether the tax would fall on all oil consumption in the United States or just domestically produced oil. Funds from the tax would be earmarked to support a greener transportation infrastructure.

  • A Way to Give the Administration’s Oil Tax a Real Chance

    Feb 5, 2016 | Alan J. Krupnick

    The Obama administration has launched another broadside in its attempt to internalize the damages from climate change and address our aging transportation infrastructure by proposing a tax on oil (the details remain unclear) of $10 per barrel.

  • Emerging Evidence on the CAFE Credit Trading Program

    Feb 5, 2016 | Benjamin Leard, Virginia D. McConnell

    The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements are a dramatic departure from past regulations of fuel economy, becoming more stringent over time and requiring both fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions to fall by roughly 50 percent of their 2012 levels by 2025.

  • How Do Gasoline Prices Affect New Vehicle Sales?

    Feb 3, 2016 | Benjamin Leard, Joshua Linn

    Over the past year we’ve seen a sudden drop in gasoline prices and many news stories about the ensuing reversal in new vehicle fuel economy. Before mid-2014, gas prices were often well above $3 per gallon (high by historical standards).

  • EPA’s Clean Power Plan Model Trading Rule Can Achieve the Goal, But Not Without Changes

    Feb 2, 2016 | Dallas Burtraw

    January 21 was the deadline to submit comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on two proposed elements of the Clean Power Plan: 1) the proposed federal implementation plan, which would be put into effect in any state that does not submit a state implementation plan; and 2) the model trading rules, designed to facilitate emissions trading among states and utilities. RFF researchers provided ten recommendations that are salient to the discussions around the mass-based approach to these two issues. Of these, six pertain to the initial distribution of emissions allowances in a cap-and-trade program.

  • The New CAFE Rules and the Need for Evidence from the Field

    Feb 1, 2016 | Benjamin Leard, Joshua Linn, Virginia D. McConnell

    At an RFF First Wednesday Seminar, The Evolving US Vehicle Fleet: Responding to New Federal Regulations, we gathered various experts to discuss key issues related to  trends in the evidence regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Several of these issues will be examined as part of this blog series, Evidence for the New CAFE Standards.

  • This Week in the RFF Library Blog

    Feb 1, 2016 | Chris Clotworthy

    Each week, I review the papers, studies, reports, and briefings posted over at the RFF Library Blog.

  • Can the WTO Take a Lesson from the Paris Climate Playbook?

    Feb 1, 2016 | Robert N. Stavins

    As readers will know from my previous entry at this blog (“Paris Agreement — A Good Foundation for Meaningful Progress”, December 12, 2015), I was busy with presentations and meetings during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris last December. However, I did have time to reflect on the process that was leading to the then-emerging Paris Agreement, including a series of discussions with my Harvard colleague – Professor Robert Lawrence, a leading international trade economist – who was back in Cambridge.

  • RFF on the Issues: Invasive species impacts: timing matters

    Jan 28, 2016 | Shannon Wulf Tregar

    Tree infestations of the emerald ash borer are happening at “an alarming rate” in DC-area parks. Local officials note that although these beetles, which are now in every county in Maryland, were once a “slow-moving locomotive,” the infestation is now a “speeding bullet.”

  • This Week in the RFF Library Blog

    Jan 22, 2016 | Chris Clotworthy

    Each week, I review the papers, studies, reports, and briefings posted over at the RFF Library Blog.