Problem: Limited literature suggests that gasoline prices have substantial effects on reducing fatal crashes. However, the literature focuses only on fatal crashes and does not examine the effects on all traffic crashes. Methods: Mississippi traffic crash data from April 2004-December 2008 from the Mississippi Highway Patrol and regular-grade unleaded gasoline price data from the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy were used to investigate the effects of gasoline prices on traffic safety by age, gender, and race. Results: Gasoline prices have both short-term and intermediate-term effects on reducing total traffic crashes and crashes of females, whites, and blacks. The intermediate-term effects are generally stronger than the short-term effects. Gasoline prices also have short-term effects on reducing crashes of younger drivers and intermediate-term effects on older drivers and male drivers. Impact on Industry: Higher gasoline taxes reduce traffic crashes and may result in additional societal benefits.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Neal Feierabend and Lee Weiskopf for deriving traffic crash data, Xuan Zhou for assistance in data analysis and result tabulation, and Timothy E. McClure and Michael Iacono for reviewing earlier drafts of this paper. Appreciation is extended to Bill Ponicki for providing the alcohol consumption data. This research was supported by a grant from Mississippi Office of Highway Safety entitled “Public Safety Data Laboratory” (award number 09K9 401-1). Kim Proctor, Ron Sennett, and Randy Ginn have been very helpful in facilitating this research.
- Gasoline prices
- Traffic crashes
- Traffic safety