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

40 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2017

See all articles by Antonio Bento

Antonio Bento

University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy

Kenneth Gillingham

Yale University

Kevin Roth

University of California, Irvine

Date Written: April 2017

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

Bento, Antonio and Gillingham, Kenneth and Roth, Kevin, The Effect of Fuel Economy Standards on Vehicle Weight Dispersion and Accident Fatalities (April 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23340. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2957336

Antonio Bento (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Sol Price School of Public Policy ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
United States

Kenneth Gillingham

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06511
United States
203-436-5465 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.yale.edu/gillingham

Kevin Roth

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

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