Assistant Professor of Economics Damien Sheehan-Connor is the author of “Environmental Policy and Vehicle Safety: The Impact of Gasoline Taxes,” published in the July 2015 issue of Economic Inquiry.
In the paper, Sheehan-Connor considers the impact that policies to reduce carbon emissions by vehicles, such as fuel economy standards and gasoline taxes, have on vehicle weight and, consequently, on safety. The paper develops a model that separately identifies the impact of vehicle weight on mortality and selection effects that impact accident propensity. He found that the safety externalities associated with heavy vehicles are greater than the environmental ones; that under fuel economy standards, vehicle weights have recently decreased with little likely effect on accident deaths; and that similar environmental benefits could be combined with substantial reductions in deaths by implementing higher gasoline taxes.
Read the paper online here.