fuel economy and car size
- -----Original Message-----
From: bnoland [mailto:r.noland@...]
Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2005 4:58 PM
Subject: fuel economy and car size
In response to this debate over car safety, I would refer those
interested to the following recent studies of this issue:
Noland, Robert B., "Motor Vehicle Fuel Efficiency and Traffic
Fatalities", The Energy Journal 25(4): 1-22 (2004).
Noland, Robert B., Fuel Economy and Traffic Fatalities: Multivariate
Analysis of International Data, Energy Policy, 33: 2183-2190 (2005).
Thomas P. Wenzel and Marc Ross, 2005, The effects of vehicle model and
driver behavior on risk, Accident Analysis and Prevention, 479-494.
Sanjana Ahmad and David L. Greene, 2005, The effect of fuel economy on
automobile safety: a reexamination, paper 05-1336, presented at the
Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board.
I would also refer those interested in this topic to the appendix by
David Greene in: National Research Council (NRC), 2002, Effectiveness
and Impact of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards,
National Academy Press: Washington, DC.
and more recent reports that examined vehicle size and safety by Van
Auken and Zellner of Dynamic Research, Inc. - fairly long consulting
reports I believe funded by Honda that sought to confirm the analyses
of NHTSA that originally claimed that small cars increase fatalities.
They found no such relationship and actually found the opposite effect!
The overall conclusion of much of this research is that size has no
impact on safety and fuel economy also has no impact. Variance of
sizes and weights is probably bad for safety and may explain some
excess fatalities in the mid to late 1970's and possibly more recently
due to increased use of SUVs (at least this is my conclusion from my
own work in this area). Fuel economy increases can easily be achieved
without any compromises in vehicle safety.
Centre for Transport Studies
Imperial College London