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article imageHigher Gas Prices Save Lives

By Christine Mattice     Jul 13, 2008 in Lifestyle
Gas prices got you down? Don’t despair. There is, at least, one benefit to rising gas prices, say the authors of a new study released this month—fewer auto fatalities.
Professors Michael Morrisey of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and David Grabowski at Harvard Medical School examined the record of traffic fatalities from 1985 to 2006, when gas prices hovered around $2.50 per gallon. They found that traffic fatalities declined 2.3 percent for every 10 percent increase in gas prices. (Presumably because people drive less.)
With the current cost of gas hovering around $4.00 a gallon, Morrisey estimates that the life-saving benefits will be even greater—around 1000 per month. If true, the rising cost of gas would reduce traffic fatalities by nearly a third per year, he says.
But don’t celebrate yet.
As reported by ABC news:
Morrisey said the study also found the “same kind of symmetry” between gas prices and auto deaths when prices go down. “When that happens, we drive more, we drive bigger cars, we drive faster, and fatalities are higher,” he said.
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