Does Improved Environmental Quality Prevent a Growing Economy? – Journal of Cleaner Production – article

Does Improved Environmental Quality Prevent a Growing Economy?

PK Wesseh Jr, B Lin | Journal of Cleaner Production

2019-10-30

Transportation energy is a significant portion of the energy consumption of the US economy. While various policies such as changing the fuel mix and alternative fuels are proposed to make the system more efficient, the efficacy of land use policies such as changing the urban form and densification have been subject to considerable debate. In this paper, I use a rich dataset compiled from different sources to test the effectiveness of urban form on energy consumption in the transportation sector. I proxy the consumption with retail sales from gas stations for most of the conterminous United States at a county level. Using demographic, economic and landscape characteristics, I tease out the effect of different dimensions of urban form on energy consumption. I find that compact and contiguous urban form is modestly associated with lower energy consumption and is more important than demographic concentration in explaining the variance.

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