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Sustainability 2012, 4(5), 1013-1042; doi:10.3390/su4051013
Article

The System Dynamics of U.S. Automobile Fuel Economy

Department of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, New East Building, Campus Box #3140, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3140, USA
Received: 2 April 2012 / Revised: 24 April 2012 / Accepted: 9 May 2012 / Published: 18 May 2012
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Abstract

This paper analyzes the dynamics of U.S. automobile gasoline consumption since 1975. Using background literature on the history of domestic fuel economy and energy policy, I establish a conceptual model that explains historical trends in adoption of increased fuel economy. I then create a system dynamics simulation model to understand the relationship between increased fuel economy standards and potential changes to gas tax policies. The model suggests that when increases in mandated fuel economy are not conducted in an environment with rising fuel costs, fuel economy improvements may be directly counteracted by shifting tastes of consumers towards larger automobiles with lower fuel economy.
Keywords: transportation; system dynamics modeling; transportation policy; fuel economy; fuel economy; environmental policy; energy security; climate change; mobile source; CAFE standards transportation; system dynamics modeling; transportation policy; fuel economy; fuel economy; environmental policy; energy security; climate change; mobile source; CAFE standards
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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BenDor, T.K. The System Dynamics of U.S. Automobile Fuel Economy. Sustainability 2012, 4, 1013-1042.

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