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Pump Price, Miles Driven, and Energy Taxes

July 10, 2013

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Inspired (as I often am) by either the insights or the foolishness of a guest post at Judith Curry’s always-provocative blog, I decided to take a look at the relationship between fuel price and miles driven. My inspiration came from my amusement at the guest author’s use of the following graph to establish a relationship between fuel cost and how much people use their cars. I think a relationship exists, but the graph used by the author doesn’t show it. Figure 1 shows that graph:

per capita fuel use vs pricein oecd countriesFigure 1. Per capita fuel use, compared to the fuel price, for the OECD countries. SOURCE

Now, it certainly looks like there’s a clear relationship there, but that’s an illusion. My objection to the graph was, the countries divide into two groups. On the bottom right you have the European OECD countries, plus Japan. Plus one fish.

On the top…

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