ESRI Research Bulletin

How emissions charges and fuel-efficiency information are presented alter consumer car choices

ESRI Research Bulletin Articles provide short summaries of work published by ESRI researchers and overviews of thematic areas covered by ESRI programmes of research. Bulletin Articles are designed to be easily accessible to a wide readership. A reference or references to the full publication is included at the start of each Bulletin article.

February 3, 2022
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One consequence of CO2-based emissions taxes has been an increase in popularity of diesel cars, which emit less CO2 but more nitrogen oxide (NOx) than petrol cars. NOx emissions, however, also contribute to climate change and have harmful consequences for public health, including increased risk of respiratory problems and dementia. We used an experiment to test (1) whether a NOx-based tax instrument would be likely to influence the type of car consumers choose, and (2) whether the presentation of the tax would alter its impact. In addition, since fuel efficiency has important implications for the environment and consumer finances, we also tested (3) whether the way fuel efficiency information is presented alters choices.