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Non-linear Preferences on Bioethanol in South Korea

국내 바이오에탄올에 대한 비선형적 선호에 관한 연구

  • Received : 2014.07.18
  • Accepted : 2014.09.19
  • Published : 2014.09.30

Abstract

Recently, there has been a debate as to whether bioethanol should replace some portion of gasoline for fuels in South Korea, as energy security as well as climate change issues are rising as a significant national agenda. However, a considerable amount of subsidy will be required to compensate for the higher price of bioethanol-blended gasoline. In this context, government subsidy will obtain justification only when the positive social gains from consuming bioethanol for fuels can exceed the negative social costs. Through a nation-wide choice experimental survey, we examine if South Koreans have a positive value as well as non-linear preferences on substituting bioethanol for gasoline. The results reveal that the willingness to pay for purely domestic bioethanol-blended gasoline within 10% is about 52 KRW; Koreans have concave preferences on the blending ratio of bioethanol to gasoline. The turning point of the blending ratio of bioethanol was 6.5%. Also, we found inverse U-shaped curve between income and bioethanol choice probability and the turning point of the income was calculated as 250~299million KRW. Politically conservative propensity advocates uses of bioethanol blended gasoline, but awareness on bioethanol or more weights on environmental conservation have significantly negative effects on the choice of bioethanol. However, the design of the survey questionnaire is incompatible with the RFS of Korea and assumes orthogonality among the following four interrelated attributes: (i) domestic or offshore procurement of feedstocks in the case of domestic production, (ii) domestic production or import of bioethanol, (iii) the blending ratios, and (iv) the retail price increases. In addition, the results of model estimation and of model selection test are not definite. Hence, the results in this study should not be directly applied to the design of the specifics of the Korean RFS. Hence, the results in this study require cautions in applying to the design of the Korean RFS policy.

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