As gas prices go up, auto deaths drop

Posted on July 20, 2008 

Study: As gas prices go up, auto deaths drop

High gas prices could turn out to be a lifesaver for some drivers. The authors of a new study say gas prices are causing driving declines that could result in a third fewer auto deaths annually, with the most dramatic drop likely to be among teen drivers.

Professors Michael Morrisey of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and David Grabowski of Harvard Medical School said they found that for every 10 percent increase in gas prices there was a 2.3 percent decline in auto deaths. For drivers ages 15 to 17, the decline was 6 percent, and for ages 18 to 21, it was 3.2 percent.

Their study looked at fatalities from 1985 to 2006, when gas prices reached about $2.50 a gallon. With gas now averaging more than $4 a gallon, Morrisey said he expects to see much greater drop — about 1,000 deaths a month.

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