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Self-selection in rebound effect

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Z Wadud
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description


It is widely argued that diesel vehicles encourage people to travel more, and often the claim is substantiated by the statistics that diesel personal vehicles indeed run more than similar petrol vehicles (Schipper and Fulton 2009). This phenomenon of driving more as a result of a more fuel efficient vehicles (which results in lower costs per-mile of driving) is known as the rebound effect in the energy literature, and estimates range from 5% to over 50%. However, the criticism of diesel vehicles on account of its rebound effect and the determination of rebound effect itself miss an important issue: self-selection.

Generally, a person who drives or plans to drive more puts more value on per-mile costs and thus would tend to buy diesel (or more fuel efficient) vehicles. Given the previous studies use household level cross-sectional data or regional panel data, which does not allow the identification of the self-selection issue, the additional diesel travel (or the rebound effects) are almost certainly overestimated in literature.

Although Schipper and Fulton (2009) mentioned the possible presence of self-selection in understanding the increased travel from diesel, they do not investigate it further. Wadud (2014) approaches the issue using a small questionnaire survey in the context of CNG conversion. As such, a robust estimation of self-selection and its effect on rebound is absent. This project aims to fulfil the gap.

Aims and Approach

The project will use diesel cars as a case study to understand and quantify the effect of self selection on rebound effects in order to improve the prediction of the effects of energy efficiency policies. A mixed-modelling approach will be followed. Household level panel data sources (German mobility panel, US Panel Study of Income Dynamics, UK Household Longitudinal Study etc.) will be used to develop advanced econometric models. There is also a possibility of using UK’s MOT data. In addition a questionnaire survey will be administered to understand the motives of switching to diesel, which would aid the formulation of the econometric models.

Impact of Research

Rebound effect is important in understanding the undesirable effects of various policies for reducing energy use to improve energy security or decarbonizing the economy to combat climate change. Fuel economy standards, dieselization or electrification of vehicle fleet - all three reduces per-mile running cost of vehicles and can give rise to rebound effects. The project will thus improve the quantification of energy and travel effects of fuel or carbon efficiency related policies. On the academic front, this has the potential to have a 4* paper before next REF.

Necessary Background

Quantitative background (e.g. civil/transportation engineering), econometrics and statistics

Please visit our LARS scholarship page for more information and further opportunities:


Schipper L and Fulton L 2009. Disappointed by Diesel? The impact of the shift to diesels in Europe through 2006, Transportation Research Record, Vol. 2139, pp. 1-10

Wadud Z 2014. (Unintended) Transport impacts of an energy-environment policy: The case of CNG conversion of vehicles in Dhaka, Transportation Research Part A, Vol. 66, pp. 100-110

Frondel M and Vance C 2011. Re-identifying the rebound - what about asymmetry? Ruhr Economic Papers, No. 276, Bochum

Hymel KM and Small KA 2015. The rebound effect for automobile travel: Asymmetric response to price changes and novel features of the 2000s, Energy Economics, Vol. 49, pp. 93-103

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