Thursday, August 01, 2013

A Preview of Chapter Seven of My New Book

Chapter Seven of Fundamentals of Environmental Economics focuses on the pollution externality associated with transportation.

"First, let’s do some algebra. Define N = the number of people in a city and P = probability that each person owns a car. Define M as the average number of miles that vehicle owners drive and define E as emissions per mile of driving.  When we discuss climate change below, E can also represent gallons of gasoline per mile mile of driving. With this notation, a city’s total emissions from transport equals N*M*P*E."

Based on this identity, I explore how total transportation emissions are affected by;
  • gasoline taxes
  • urban parking rates
  • Changes in the composition of the vehicle fleet as old high polluting vehicles die off and new vehicles have much lower emissions (thanks to regulation induced emissions controls --- see my 1996 Rand piece on this point)
I offer a brief discussion of Jessica Reyes' work on lead emissions from gasoline and its impact on U.S crime dynamics.   

I then blend some urban economics with environmental economics by teaching how the classic monocentric model of urban economics makes predictions about the production of transportation emissions in a growing city.