Research

Publications

Clinton, Bentley C., Christopher R. Knittel, and Konstantinos Metaxoglou. 2020. "Electrifying Transportation: Challenges and Opportunities." In Handbook on the Economics of Electricity, edited by J.M. Glachant, P.L. Joskow, and M. Pollitt. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar. (forthcoming)
CEEPR working paper | CEEPR interactive tool

Abstract: Electricity is an increasingly important energy source in the transportation sector.  This chapter examines the issues associated with broad sector electrification and identifies the challenges and opportunities that accompany continued growth of the global electric vehicle stock. It presents a broad overview of the current, global state of the market.  With this context as a backdrop, it explores an array of topics including vehicle costs, infrastructure concerns, emissions consequences, and the potential effect of electrification on gasoline tax revenues.  In addition to current system considerations, the chapter concludes with a discussion of the electrification frontier, focusing on the role of electricity in the medium- and heavy-duty sector, and the potential complementarities and conflicts between an electrified transportation fleet and widespread use of ride sharing and autonomous vehicles.

Clinton, Bentley C., and Daniel Steinberg. 2019. "Providing the Spark: Impact of Financial Incentives on Battery Electric Vehicle Adoption," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeem.2019.102255.

Abstract: To overcome adoption barriers and promote battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as an energy efficient consumer transportation option, a number of states offer subsidies to consumers for BEVs.  We use a national data set of vehicle registrations and state-level financial incentives to assess the impact of vehicle purchase subsidies on adoption using both difference-in-differences and synthetic controls methods.  We find that incentives offered as direct purchase rebates generate increased levels of new BEV registrations at a rate of approximately 8 percent per thousand dollars of incentive offered.  Between 2011 and 2015, vehicle rebate incentives are associated with an increase in overall BEV registrations of approximately 11 percent.  Our findings indicate incentives offered as state income tax credits do not have a statistically significant effect on BEV adoptions, though we caution this may be a result of limited policy variation in our sample.  Responses to rebate incentives do not differ significantly by the make of the vehicle purchased (i.e., Tesla and non-Tesla vehicles).  We combine our results with recent assessments of marginal environmental costs of electric vehicle charging and measure net welfare effects of BEV subsidy programs. Our analysis indicates these programs are not welfare-improving if only considering benefits associated with avoided emissions. Additional benefits associated with long-term market growth, production cost savings, network externalities, or accelerated innovation could substantially impact the net welfare outcomes.

Todd Schatzki, Paul Hibbard, Pavel Darling, and Bentley Clinton, "Generation Fleet Turnover in New England: Modeling Energy Market Impacts," Analysis Group Whitepaper, June 2011.

Abstract: In this paper we summarize a select set of analyses we carried out related to resource options and infrastructure change in the New England power market, with a focus on certain factors and consequences that will need to be addressed in quantifying and evaluating potential future resource scenarios. Specifically, we extract from our analysis observations focused on key differences between additions of renewables and traditional fossil-fired generation (natural gas combined cycle capacity) from operational and pricing perspectives, and then consider in detail how these additions affect the price and emission impacts of replacing aging coal and oil-fired capacity in New England with either natural gas-fired or renewable resources. (Whitepaper available here.)

Presentations

"Consequences of Intermittent Electricity Generation on Power System Emissions"
NAREA Annual Meeting, June 2019.

"The Power System in Transition: Insights from Spatio-temporally resolved Generation Data"
MIT EPS Workshop, November 2018.
MIT CEEPR Fall Workshop, November 2018.

"Providing the Spark: Impact of Financial Incentives on Battery Electric Vehicle Adoption"
MIT Electricity Students Research Group, Cambridge, MA, December 2017.
Association of Environmental and Resource Economists Summer Conference, Breckenridge, CO, June 2016.

"Double Shifting: The Impact of NHL Olympic Participation on NHL Attendance"
Southern Economic Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, November 2016.

"Preliminary Assessment of Spatial Competition in the Market for E85"
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, August 2016.

"Retail Pricing Behavior in Emerging Fuels Markets: Evidence from the Market for E85"
Northeast Agricultural and Resource Economics Association Annual Meeting, Bar Harbor, ME, June 2016. (Second place, conference poster competition.)

"Marginal Emissions from Electricity Generation: A Study of Spatial Precision"
Front Range Energy Camp, Boulder, CO, May 2015

"Impact of Direct Financial Incentives in the Emerging Battery Electric Vehicle Market: A Preliminary Analysis,"
Colorado School of Mines Seminar, Golden, CO, January 2015
Department of Energy Invited Presentation, Washington, DC, December 2014

Policy Documents

“Preliminary Assessment of Spatial Competition in the Market for E85,” National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, August 2016.

"Impact of Direct Financial Incentives in the Emerging Battery Electric Vehicle Market: A Preliminary Analysis," Department of Energy, Washington DC, December 2014. (Presentation available here.)

Work in Progress

"Emissions Consequences of Variable Electricity Generation" (with C. Knittel)

"Wholesale Price Drivers: An Analysis of the U.S. Power Market" (with D. Steinberg)

"Historical Variation in Electricity Load in the United States: Causes and Consequences" (with A. Hill)

"Costs and Benefits of NHL Participation in the Olympic Games" (with A. Patel)