Cooking fuel choice in rural China: results from microdata

Bing Dong Hou, Xin Tang, Chunbo Ma, Li Liu, Yi Ming Wei, Hua Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Unclean cooking fuel is widely used in the developing world, and it is the main indication of energy poverty in rural China. In this paper, we investigate the situation, transition, and determination of fuel choice in China's rural household cooking. Using the large scale micro-survey data of China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), we find that there is a big gap in using commercial cooking fuels between rural and urban households: 60% of the rural households adopt traditional biomass resource as their main fuel for cooking in 2011, while this figure is less than 5% in the urban. We also identify a significant spatial divide in fuel choice: in southeastern coastal areas, about 40% of the rural households prefer solid fuels, while this figure jumps to over 80% in northeastern areas. The longitudinal data also reveal a significant transition from traditional to modern fuels from 2008 to 2012. Moreover, the distance to the most commonly used farmer's market, education background, coal price and female labor participation are all influential in determining the households' choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-547
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue numberPart 2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2017


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