This report is authored by U-M Department of Economics PhD student Alecia Cassidy. The energy efficiency gap is the failure of consumers or producers to make energy efficiency investments that would seemingly save money or increase profits. The phenomenon is important to understand, because if it exists and reflects irrational decisions on the part of consumers or firms, then policy intervention might be warranted. This report examines evidence for the energy efficiency gap in the automobile industry, and ultimately finds that the evidence is inconclusive. Three general approaches were employed: survey research, reduced-form analysis, and discrete choice modeling. Survey research finds evidence of an energy efficiency gap. Reduced-form analyses find no energy efficiency gap. The results of discrete choice models differ, with some finding evidence of an energy efficiency gap and others finding no evidence.
Understanding public perceptions of energy is important for informing energy-related business, research and policy strategies. To this end, a new U.S. consumer survey probes core attitudes about the reliability, affordability and environmental impact of energy. Appended quarterly to the long-running monthly survey of 500 households that produces the Index of Consumer Sentiment, this instrument inherits the sample design and statistical rigor of that household economic survey.
The light-duty vehicle fleet is expected to undergo substantial technological changes over the next several decades. New powertrain designs, alternative fuels, advanced materials and significant changes to the vehicle body are being driven by increasingly stringent fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards. By the end of the next decade, cars and light-duty trucks will be more fuel efficient, weigh less, emit less air pollutants, have more safety features, and will be more expensive to purchase relative to current vehicles. Though the gasoline-powered spark ignition engine will continue to be the dominant powertrain configuration even through 2030, such vehicles will be equipped with advanced technologies, materials, electronics and controls, and aerodynamics. And by 2030, the deployment of alternative methods to propel and fuel vehicles and alternative modes of transportation, including autonomous vehicles, will be well underway. What are these new technologies - how will they work, and will some technologies be more effective than others?
The Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) conducts, supports and fosters applied academic research to inform local, state, and urban policy issues. Their Energy and Environmental Policy Initiative brings the latest academic knowledge to bear on issues of energy, environment, and climate policy. Below you'll find a list of links to energy - specific CLOSUP publications.
Energy is one of the major issues that affects the U.S. economy, consumer wellbeing, national security and the environment. The topic has many dimensions and public perceptions of energy are regularly buffeted by events ranging from power outages to oil spills, from volatile prices and fears of shortages to promises of plenty as new energy technologies are developed. Consumers are often surveyed about particular aspects of energy and questions about energy prices are included in general economic surveys.
This study analyzes the real impacts of raising Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard - the policy mandating the percentage of the state’s electric generation capacity that must be provided by renewable power. The study, sponsored by the University of Michigan Energy Institute, analyzes several scenarios, detailing the changes to different power generation sources such as coal and natural gas, the environmental benefits to the state, and the associated costs under each.
A country is only as strong as its capacity to build. Managed properly, the availability of low-cost shale gas could catalyze a renaissance in U.S. manufacturing, revitalizing the chemical industry and enhancing the global competitiveness of energy-intensive manufacturing sectors such as aluminum, steel, paper, glass, and food. This report summarizes and expands upon the University of Michigan-sponsored daylong Symposium “Shale Gas: A Game-Changer for American Manufacturing,” held on March 28, 2014 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
"In a time when a foreseeable complete transformation from a petroleum-based economy to a bio-based global economy finds itself in its early infancy, biowastes (e.g. agricultural wastes, municipal and solid wastes, sludge, wastewater and foodwastes), currently seen as low-valued materials, are beginning to be recognized as resources for the production of a variety of eco-friendly and sustainable products, with second-generation liquid biofuels being the leading ones."
The climate benefits of biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel have been debated for many years. Attempts to compare these fuels with one another and fossil-derived fuels such as gasoline and diesel confront many uncertainties, not all of which can be resolved through further data analysis. By scrutinizing the greatest sources of uncertainty and grounding analysis in the areas of high certainty such as combustion chemistry and the terrestrial carbon cycle, this paper sheds light on this challenging subject and points the way toward new strategies for addressing CO2 emissions from transportation fuels.
"Carefully examining the locations and magnitudes of fuel-related emissions indicates that the proper policy focus is on the sectors that supply fuel rather than the choice of fuels in the auto sector. Therefore, beyond fundamental R&D, policies to commercialize AFVs are not necessarily required for climate protection at present."