Jan 22, 2021


Mode Choice, Energy, Emissions and the Rebound Effect in U.S. Freight Transportation


1:40pm - 3:00pm


Remote instruction


We exploit newly available microdata on goods movement in the U.S. to model shippers’ freight mode choices. Because freight modes have vastly different fuel intensities, shippers’ choices have large implications for fuel consumption and emissions. We find higher fuel prices yield substantial shifts from less to more fuel-efficient modes, particularly rail. We extend our model to analyze recently enacted fuel economy standards. Fuel economy standards can increase emissions and fuel consumption by shifting shipments to less fuel-efficient modes. Our results suggest mode-shifting makes up a large share of the total rebound effect in heavy-duty vehicles.

Biographical Sketch

Jonathan Hughes is an Associate Professor of Economics, non-rostered core faculty member in Environmental Studies and a Fellow in the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He also holds a joint appointment at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Strategic Analysis Center. He received his Ph.D. in Transportation Technology and Policy from the University of California at Davis in 2009. He has a background in mechanical engineering (BSE, Duke University) and materials science (MSE, Cornell University). His research interests include climate change policy, freight transportation, traffic congestion, electricity and renewable energy markets.

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