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The Effect of Fuel Economy Standards on Vehicle Weight Dispersion and Accident Fatalities

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  • Antonio Bento
  • Kenneth Gillingham
  • Kevin Roth

Abstract

The firm response to regulation is seldom as controversial as in the context of fuel economy standards, a dominant policy to reduce emissions from vehicles worldwide. It has long been argued that such standards lead to vehicle weight changes that increase accident fatalities. Using unconditional quantile regression, we are the first to document the effect of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards on the vehicle weight distribution. We find that on net CAFE reduced fatalities, with lowered mean weight dominating increased dispersion. When monetized, this effect suggests positive net benefits from CAFE even with no undervaluation of fuel economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio Bento & Kenneth Gillingham & Kevin Roth, 2017. "The Effect of Fuel Economy Standards on Vehicle Weight Dispersion and Accident Fatalities," NBER Working Papers 23340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23340 Note: EEE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Meghan R. Busse & Christopher R. Knittel & Florian Zettelmeyer, 2013. "Are Consumers Myopic? Evidence from New and Used Car Purchases," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 220-256, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lucija Muehlenbachs & Stefan Staubli & Ziyan Chu, 2017. "The Accident Externality from Trucking," NBER Working Papers 23791, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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