The Rebound Effect for Car Transport

Bruno de Borger, Ismir Mulalic, Jan Rouwendal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEncyclopedia chapterResearch


Enforcing fuel efficiency standards for new cars are one of the most widespread policies used to reduce the transport sector's energy consumption and the associated negative external effects. The direct rebound effect reduces the net benefits of fuel efficiency improvements. Better fuel efficiency reduces the per kilometer cost of car use, raising the demand for driving, so that some of the energy savings that would have been realized with unchanged behavior are foregone. The effectiveness of fuel efficiency policies is critically depends on the magnitude of the rebound effect. Empirical estimates for the rebound effect differ substantially between studies, depending on the country, on the underlying assumptions made, on the type of data used, and on the econometric techniques applied. The most reliable empirical estimates suggest an average rebound effect of some 10%–20%.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Transportation : Volume 1. Transport Economics
EditorsRoger Vickerman, Maria Börjesson
Number of pages5
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9780081026717
ISBN (Electronic)9780081026724
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Backfiring
  • Car ownership
  • Car use
  • Climate change policy
  • Demand for kilometers
  • Direct rebound effect
  • Energy efficiency policy
  • Fuel costs
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Fuel efficiency standards
  • Fuel price
  • Multiple car ownership
  • Rebound effect

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