An emissions tax is efficient, but measurement of every car’s emissions would be inaccurate and expensive. With identical consumers, we demonstrate the same efficiency for: an emissions tax; a gas tax that depends on fuel type, engine size, and pollution control equipment (PCE); a vehicle tax that depends on mileage; or a combination of uniform tax rates on gasoline and engine size with a subsidy to PCE. With heterogeneous consumers, efficiency can be obtained by a vehicle-specific gas tax or mileage-specific vehicle tax, but not by flat rates. We characterize second-best uniform tax rates on gasoline and on car characteristics.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sarah_west/3/