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American Economic Journal: Applied Economics: Vol. 5 No. 3 (July 2013)

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Fuel Economy and Safety: The Influences of Vehicle Class and Driver Behavior

Article Citation

Jacobsen, Mark R. 2013. "Fuel Economy and Safety: The Influences of Vehicle Class and Driver Behavior." American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 5(3): 1-26.

DOI: 10.1257/app.5.3.1

Abstract

Fuel economy standards change the composition of the vehicle fleet, influencing accident safety. The direction and size of the effect depend on the combination of vehicles in the fleet. I provide empirical estimates of vehicle safety across classes, accounting for unobserved driving behavior and selection. I apply the model to the present structure of US fuel economy standards, accounting for shifts in the composition of vehicle ownership, and estimate an adverse safety effect of 33 cents per gallon of gasoline saved. I show how two alternative regulatory provisions fully offset this effect, producing a nearzero change in accident fatalities.

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Download Data Set (412.00 KB) | Online Appendix (408.46 KB) | Author Disclosure Statement(s) (17.98 KB)

Authors

Jacobsen, Mark R. (U CA, San Diego)

JEL Classifications

D12: Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
L51: Economics of Regulation
L62: Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment
Q48: Energy: Government Policy
R41: Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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