Pounds that Kill: The External Costs of Vehicle Weight
Heavier vehicles are safer for their own occupants but more hazardous for the occupants of other vehicles. In this paper we estimate the increased probability of fatalities from being hit by a heavier vehicle in a collision. We show that, controlling for own-vehicle weight, being hit by a vehicle that is 1,000 pounds heavier results in a 47% increase in the baseline fatality probability. Estimation results further suggest that the fatality risk is even higher if the striking vehicle is a light truck (SUV, pickup truck, or minivan). We calculate that the value of the external risk generated by the gain in fleet weight since 1989 is approximately 27 cents per gallon of gasoline. We further calculate that the total fatality externality is roughly equivalent to a gas tax of $1.08 per gallon. We consider two policy options for internalizing this external cost: a gas tax and an optimal weight varying mileage tax. Comparing these options, we find that the cost is similar for most vehicles.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2011|
|Publication status:||published as “Pounds Th at Kill: Th e External Costs of Vehicle Weight.” Joint with Max Au ff hammer, UC Berkeley. 2014. Review of Economic Studies . 81(2): pp. 535-571.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Robert B. Noland, 2004. "Motor Vehicle Fuel Efficiency and Traffic Fatalities," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 1-22.
- Antonio M. Bento & Lawrence H. Goulder & Mark R. Jacobsen & Roger H. von Haefen, 2009.
"Distributional and Efficiency Impacts of Increased US Gasoline Taxes,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 667-699, June.
- Bento, Antonio M. & Goulder, Lawrence H. & Jacobsen, Mark R. & von Haefen, Roger H., 2007. "Distributional and Efficiency Impacts of Increased U.S. Gasoline Taxes," Working Papers 127021, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
- Ivan Fernandez-Val, 2007.
"Fixed Effects Estimation of Structural Parameters and Marginal Effects in Panel Probit Models,"
Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series
WP2007-009, Boston University - Department of Economics.
- Fernández-Val, Iván, 2009. "Fixed effects estimation of structural parameters and marginal effects in panel probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 150(1), pages 71-85, May.
- Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1998. "The Effects of the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards in the US," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 1-33, March.
- Ian W. H. Parry & Kenneth A. Small, 2005.
"Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1276-1289, September.
- Parry, Ian & Small, Kenneth, 2002. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," Discussion Papers dp-02-12-, Resources For the Future.
- J. Daniel Khazzoom, 1994. "Fuel Efficiency and Automobile Safety: Single-Vehicle Highway Fatalities for Passenger Cars," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 49-102.
- Shanjun Li & Christopher Timmins & Roger H. von Haefen, 2009.
"How Do Gasoline Prices Affect Fleet Fuel Economy?,"
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 11337-11337, August.
- Anderson, Michael, 2008. "Safety for whom? The effects of light trucks on traffic fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 973-989, July.
- Ian W. H. Parry, 2005.
"Is Pay-as-You-Drive Insurance a Better Way to Reduce Gasoline than Gasoline Taxes?,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 288-293, May.
- Parry, Ian, 2005. "Is Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance a Better Way to Reduce Gasoline than Gasoline Taxes?," Discussion Papers dp-05-15, Resources For the Future.
- Noland, Robert B., 2005. "Fuel economy and traffic fatalities: multivariate analysis of international data," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(17), pages 2183-2190, November.
- Paul R. Portney & Ian W.H. Parry & Howard K. Gruenspecht & Winston Harrington, 2003. "Policy Watch: The Economics of Fuel Economy Standards," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 203-217, Fall.
- Parry, Ian & Portney, Paul & Harrington, Winston & Gruenspecht, Howard, 2003. "The Economics of Fuel Economy Standards," Discussion Papers dp-03-44, Resources For the Future.
- Thomas H. Klier & Joshua Linn, 2008.
"New vehicle characteristics and the cost of the corporate average fuel economy standard,"
Working Paper Series
WP-08-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
- Thomas Klier & Joshua Linn, 2012. "New‐vehicle characteristics and the cost of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(1), pages 186-213, 03.
- Christopher R. Knittel, 2009.
"Automobiles on Steroids: Product Attribute Trade-Offs and Technological Progress in the Automobile Sector,"
NBER Working Papers
15162, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christopher R. Knittel, 2011. "Automobiles on Steroids: Product Attribute Trade-Offs and Technological Progress in the Automobile Sector," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3368-3399, December.
- Austin, David & Dinan, Terry, 2005. "Clearing the air: The costs and consequences of higher CAFE standards and increased gasoline taxes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 562-582, November.
- Ted Gayer, 2004. "The Fatality Risks of Sport-Utility Vehicles, Vans, and Pickups Relative to Cars," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 103-133, 03.
- Amy Finkelstein, 2009. "E-ztax: Tax Salience and Tax Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 969-1010.
- Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17170. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.