New York Economic Review


Fuel Efficiency and the Determinants of Traffic Fatalities: A Comparison of Empirical Models

Mark Gius

vol. 40, Fall 2009, p. 13-27


The present study has three primary purposes. First, this study will attempt to determine the effects of fuel efficiency standards on traffic fatalities; this is a long-running topic of contention in the area of vehicle safety. Second, this study will look at the effects of legal restrictions on traffic fatalities. Once again, there is dispute regarding the potential effects that laws may have on driver behavior. Finally, the present study will compare and contrast three commonly used empirical techniques in order to determine which variables are most robust or consistent in their effects on traffic fatalities. Using data from 48 states over a 23 year time period, the results indicate that fuel efficiency standards have a negative effect on traffic fatalities, irrespective of the type of empirical technique employed. Regarding other pertinent variables, the results of two of the three models suggest that socioeconomic factors, such as the age distribution of the state and per capita alcohol consumption, had much more significant effects on traffic fatalities than state-imposed legal restrictions, such as minimum legal driving ages.


suggested citation:

Mark Gius. "Fuel Efficiency and the Determinants of Traffic Fatalities: A Comparison of Empirical Models." New York Economic Review. vol. 40, Fall 2009, p. 13-27

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