Household Gasoline Demand in the United States

Richard Schmalensee and Thomas M. Stoker


Richard Schmalensee and Thomas M. Stoker, August 1995Continuing rapid growth in U.S. gasoline consumption threatens to exacerbate environmental and congestion problems. We use flexible semiparametric and nonparametric methods to guide analysis of household gasoline consumption, and including this variable cuts the estimated income elasticity in half. Slower projected future growth in licensed drivers points to slower growth in gasoline consumption. A parsimonious representation of age, income, lifecycle and location effects is developed and tested. We show how flexible methods also helped reveal fundamental problems with the available price data.