Consumer Inattention and Demand for Energy Cost Savings

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Researcher Profile

Benjamin Leard


Topics of Interest

Ben Leard's research covers several areas of environmental and energy economics, with a particular focus on distributional issues in climate change policy and regulation in the transportation sector. His work on climate change has evaluated the tradeoffs between efficiency and distributional outcomes of several mechanisms for promoting emissions reductions from carbon offsets in cap-and-trade programs. In his work on transportation, Leard explores how fuel economy standards may impact consumers differently depending on the variation in consumer preferences for vehicle attributes.


Cornell University, Applied Economics and Management, PhD 2014

James Madison University, Mathematics, Economics, BS 2008

Recent Work

See all work by Benjamin Leard



Benjamin Leard in the News

  • Americans Are Willing To Pay Almost $5,000 For Autonomous Car Tech, Smart People Say

    "The study, written in our favorite scientific journal, Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, by Richardo Daziano of Cornell, Mauricio Sarrias of Universidad Catolica del Norte in Chile, and Benjamin Leard of Resources for the Future, asked 1,260 people from around the country a number of questions in a “discrete choice experiment focused on energy efficiency and autonomous features.”

    After running the data from the responses through several models (you can read all about their methodology in their full report), the study estimated that the average American household would be willing to spend $3,500 on partial automation and $4,900 on fully autonomous car tech. This, of course, is in addition to the already high prices of new cars today."

  • ClimateWire

    Carmakers Might Need Carbon Trading to 'Survive' in 2025

    "A new report by Resources for the Future shows that automakers are already benefiting from some flexibilities in the federal program, despite its inefficient design.

    The standards are so complicated that many observers miss a built-in emissions trading program in which automakers can earn, bank and trade credits worth millions of tons of carbon emissions.

    'If there wasn't trading, at least not right now, nobody would go out of business,' said Ben Leard, a fellow at Resources for the Future. 'That will probably change if we did get to 2025, because the stringency is so much more, it's so much higher, that some companies might need this market to survive.'"

  • GreenBiz | May 25, 2016

    Is Automobile Fuel Economy Hitting a Dead End?

    "Chrysler has been Tesla’s biggest customer. At first glance, it may seem peculiar to have Chrysler buyers subsidize the purchases of Tesla’s $100,000 luxury cars, but that’s the way CAFE is designed to work, according to Benjamin Leard, an economist at Resources for the Future, a Washington, D.C., think thank."

    "Leard, the economist, said: 'Having either a carbon tax or gasoline tax would be preferable to CAFE.' Others agree. But the likelihood of this Congress or the next one raising taxes or imposing new ones is slim. The federal gas tax, which stands at 18.4 cents a gallon, was last raised in 1993."

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