Blood and Oil: Vehicle Characteristics in Relation to Fatality Risk and Fuel Economy

In this article, the author examines the potential for a lower risk of death compatible with increased fuel economy among 67 models of 1999-2002 model year cars, vans, and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs). The study focused on the years 2000 to 2004, and calculates the odds of death for drivers and all persons killed in vehicle collisions as they relate to vehicle weight, size, stability, and crashworthiness. The author contends that fatality rates would have been 28% lower and fuel use would have been reduced by 16% if vehicle weights had been reduced to the weight of vehicles with the lowest weight per size. Also, if all vehicles had crashworthiness and stability features equal to those of the top-rated vehicles, more than half the deaths involving passenger cars, vans, and SUVs could have been prevented. The author concludes by discussing more fuel economy regulations that are more sensible than those currently in place. With different regulations, manufacturers would have an incentive to minimize weight in vehicles in a given size category and to use more fuel-efficient engines in larger vehicles.


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  • Accession Number: 01045346
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 27 2007 9:08PM