“Cash-for-Clunkers” was a $3 billion program that attempted to stimulate the U.S. economy and improve the environment by encouraging consumers to retire older vehicles and purchase more fuel-efficient new vehicles. We investigate the effects of this program on new vehicle sales and the environment. Using Canada as the control group in a difference-in-differences framework, we find that the program increased new vehicle sales by about 0.36 million during July and August of 2009, implying that approximately 45 percent of the spending went to consumers who would have purchased a new vehicle anyway. Our results suggest no gain in sales beyond 2009 and hence no meaningful stimulus to the economy. In addition, the program will reduce CO2 emissions by only 9 to 28.4 million tons, implying a cost per ton ranging from $91 to $288 even after accounting for reduced criteria pollutants.
Working Paper — May 11, 2021
Establishing Utility-Scale Solar Projects: Federal Involvement
Amid renewed investment in solar energy generation, this working paper identifies the legal barriers to utility-scale solar projects and possible solutions to streamline the process.
Press Release — May 11, 2021
Cutting Red Tape for Green Energy: How Can the Federal Government Lower Legal Hurdles for Solar Farms?
Amid renewed investment in solar energy generation, a new paper identifies the legal barriers to utility-scale solar projects and possible solutions to streamline the process.
Common Resources — May 4, 2021
Can the United States Reach New Climate Goals Set by the Biden Administration?
New RFF research shows that three prominent federal climate policy proposals can drive substantial emissions reductions, particularly if combined—but additional policies or greater ambition will be needed to achieve new US emissions goals.