U.S. highways swarm with vehicles of each size, from 1,800-pound economy cars to tractor-trailers that may reach eighty,000 pounds. till recently, traveler vehicles had been turning into progressively serious — between 1980 and 2006, average curb weight rose twenty sixth.
“Improved!” is that the marketer’s favorite word, and for cars that usually suggests that longer, wider and heavier: once the Honda Civic debuted in 1973, it weighed simply one,500 pounds; by 2013, sure models exceeded two,800 pounds, nearly double. The trend slowed and reversed as gas costs began to rise and fuel economy regained importance, and new federal standards — thirty four.5 miles per gallon by 2016, rising to fifty four.5 by 2025 — can place pressure on makers and shoppers to concentrate to the size.
When it involves sales, however, “safety” may be a powerful construct, and intelligibly thus. Travel in camera vehicles is one amongst the leading causes of death within the u. s. — per the U.S. Department of Transportation, 34,080 individuals died in crashes in 2012, and ninety four of these deaths passed on highways. analysis has shown that traveler fatality rates and vehicle weight ar closely related: The heavier a automotive is, the less probably its occupants ar to be eviscerate — however the additional probably those in alternative vehicles ar to be hurt.
The result has been a kind of “arms race” on yank highways, as elaborated in 2013 analysis revealed within the Review of Economic Studies, “Pounds That Kill: The External prices of auto Weight.” The researchers, Michael L. Anderson and Maximilian Auffhammer of U.C. Berkeley and also the National Bureau of Economic analysis, request to quantify the external safety prices that vehicle weight imposes. As they state, “From AN economic point of view … AN unregulated vehicle fleet should be inefficiently serious. A heavier vehicle is safer for its own occupants however additional venturous for the occupants of alternative vehicles.”
The data analyzed came from the National road Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and lined eight states: Everglade State, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Washington and American state. In all, 4.8 million two-vehicle collisions were analyzed, together with vehicle weight, injuries, fatalities, and driver and dweller characteristics.
The study’s findings include:
Weight may be a central determinant within the variety of collision fatalities and wherever they occur. “A 1,000-pound increase in hanging vehicle weight raises the chance of a fatality within the affected vehicle by forty seventh.”
SUVs and lightweight trucks ar on the average heavier and so create a bigger threat to those in alternative vehicles; additionally, owing to factors like variations in bumper height, they’re considerably additional probably to cause fatalities within the vehicles they strike. (Related analysis has shown they’re conjointly considerably additional probably to be concerned in single-vehicle crashes owing to their propensity to roll over.)
The total external prices of excessive vehicle weight from fatalities in two-vehicle collisions ar calculable to be $136 billion p.a.. These ar prices obligatory on occupants of alternative vehicles and society as an entire, each in financial terms and in life-years lost. (The average age of a car-crash victim within the u. s. is thirty-nine years previous, and the U.S. lifetime was seventy eight.7 years in 2010, thus nearly forty life-years ar lost for each death.)
To make amends for the external prices of two-vehicle crashes, the U.S. excise tax would want to rise by $0.26 per gallon. “We more calculate that internalizing the overall value of external fatalities and injuries because of vehicle weight and operation, together with crashes with motorcycles and pedestrians, needs a tax of a minimum of $0.97 per gallon, and the maximum amount as $2.17 per gallon.”
Because automotive house owners don’t have to be compelled to buy several of the prices they impose on society, on the average vehicles oversubscribed ar heavier than they might are otherwise; consequently, the U.S. fleet as an entire is inefficient. “We realize that the 2005 model year fleet consumes $92.8 billion additional gas annually than the lightest potential fleet, that exceeds the comparable external fatality value of $86.4 billion.”
To move outwardly obligatory prices to vehicle house owners, each a weight-varying mileage tax and a gas tax were examined and located to own similar effects. “The findings recommend that European gas taxes is also abundant nearer to best levels than the U.S. gas tax” for reducing excessive vehicle weight and also the externalities it imposes.