The Rebound Effect in a More Fuel Efficient Transportation Sector

Wagner, Gernot; Lee, Ruiwen

Energy efficiency measures are typically met with a small but often persistent “rebound effect” that manifests itself across various spheres: Install a more efficient air conditioning unit, lose some of the savings by setting the temperature lower. Buy a more fuel efficient car, visit grandma more often.The rebound effect has troubled energy analysts and economists for over a century. Sometimes it is also called the “Jevons Paradox,” after William Jevons who, in the 19th century, hypothesized that efficiency improvements will only backfire and lead us to use more resources overall. In fact, the Jevons Paradox acts in the extreme long run—over decades, centuries, and millennia—and might be better thought of as economic growth, progress.



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Institute for Policy Integrity Working Papers
Institute for Policy Integrity: NYU School of Law

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Academic Units
International and Public Affairs
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December 5, 2012