Essays on transportation and environment in China

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My dissertation focuses on environmental issues associated with the transportation sector in China. The automobile industry in China has grown exponentially in the past 20 years. The rapid growth poses enormous challenges for the reduction of CO2 emissions and pollution. My dissertation utilizes a variety of data sources and explores what policies and market incentives can effectively promote greener transportation and reduce GHG emissions and pollution.In my first chapter, I investigate how Chinese consumers value fuel economy. Understanding this is central to determining what is the optimal policy for reducing vehicle emissions under current policy environments. I find that the new vehicle market displays full valuation, ranging from 85-105% under different specifications and assumptions. Consumer accessibility to reliable fuel economy information has a positive impact on the valuation ratio. The high valuation of fuel economy suggests that a gasoline tax or carbon tax could be an efficient tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions for China. In my second chapter, which I co-authored with Professor Joshua Linn, I look at how rapidly rising income contributes to exploding vehicle demand in China, and how we can use this knowledge to better forecast future GHG emissions. We estimate an elasticity of new car sales to income of about 2.6. This estimate indicates that recent projections of vehicle sales in China have understated actual sales by 40 percent. In my third chapter, instead of looking at GHG emissions, I look at pollution from high-emission trucks. I evaluate how a ban on these trucks improves local NO2 levels in Beijing. The result suggests that the policy helped reduce NO2 by 1.26 μg/m3, or approximately 2.6% of the NO2 level. Additionally, it was found that stations located in areas with a high density of major roads, fewer natural surroundings, and more buildings saw a more significant policy effect than their counterparts.