Pollution Whack-a-Mole: Ambient Acetaldehyde and the Introduction of E-10 Gasoline in the Northeast

This paper uses a complicated set of phase-ins and phase-outs of oxygenated motor fuel in the Northeast to determine whether E-10 ethanol-enhanced fuel contributes to acetaldehyde air pollution over the pre-ethanol methyl tertiary-buthyl ether (MTBE) fuel. Oil companies phased out MTBE because of groundwater pollution concerns, and now E-10 is the standard fuel in EPA reformulated gas areas. Using a difference-in-difference setup, I find a small level increase but a large percentage increase in acetaldehyde pollution with E-10. I also compute a cost of the pollution in the single-digit millions of dollars. The findings concur with many scientific papers estimating that the impact of E-10 fuel on acetaldehyde pollution is small but positive.

Issue Date:
May 20 2014
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
PURL Identifier:
Page range:
Total Pages:
JEL Codes:
Q3; Q5
Series Statement:
Paper 4455

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-09

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