Fuel Economy, Car Class Mix, and Safety
Jacobsen, Mark R. 2011. "Fuel Economy, Car Class Mix, and Safety."
American Economic Review,
Fuel economy standards change the composition of the vehicle fleet, potentially influencing accident fatality risks. I estimate the direction and magnitude of this impact, introducing a correction for selection on driver behavior. A policy application using my new estimates shows that the present distinction between light trucks and cars in fuel economy rules has very negative consequences for overall safety: Each MPG increment to the standard results in an additional 150 fatalities per year in expectation. My correction for selection is pivotal in this finding. I then demonstrate a simple alternative regulation that can produce near-zero changes in accident fatalities.
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Jacobsen, Mark R. (U CA, San Diego)
L62: Automobiles; Other Transportation Equipment
R41: Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise