Higher Gas Prices Leads to Fewer Fatalities on the Road

This one kind of goes in the Department of…Duh, but the amazing thing to me is that traffic fatalities may reach an almost 50-year low. Not since 1961 have driving deaths been under 37,000 per year.

Reason: Higher gasoline prices have caused drivers to hange their behavior. First off, teens and elderly most likely feel the rising price of gas a little more than those of us in our “middle age” because we presumably have higher disposable incomes. Second, people are driving only for “necessities” not pleasure. Vacation travel is down. People are simply doing “stay-cations” where they stay home, or close to home, for vacation.

Third, people are driving slower to save gas. Slower = Better fuel economy. However, this is one I’m not really seeing.

It does seem that folks who own Priuses drive slowly, but the macho men in their raised 4x4s seem to drive even faster nowadays. But I live in the state of freeways and fast crazy drivers, so I may have a distorted perspective. With traffic the way it is, and with most of us forced to drive 15 mph for much of our commute time, it’s really tempting to put our cars and trucks in top gear and drive 85 mph (or more).

Remember, the faster you drive, the worse fuel economy you’re going to get. It’s not linear either, meaning doubling your speed (to keep the math simple and to illustrate this point) will not reduce your mileage by 2 — it will reduce your mileage by 4.

So, if you get 24 mpg at 50 mph, you’ll get 6 mpg at 100 mph. It’s all about friction, both aerodynamic on the outside, and RPMs and load on the inside.

High gas prices drive down traffic fatalities – Yahoo! News


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Greener Pastures - August 25, 2008 Reply

Less fatalities is great, and less pollution, too. I think our world is too fast for its own good, in general, though I love computers and technology. It just seems like with blackberry’s and such, you can’t get away from the rat race! My boss asked me if i wanted a blackberry and I said no!

billspaced - August 25, 2008 Reply

I hear that! I NEVER want a Blackberry. I hate them and despise people who use them indiscriminately (like during meetings).

Great point on less pollution, too. We should take a lesson from the Olympics in China to literally see how bad pollution can be — the air was always smoggy gray. I don’t know how anybody competed — much less set records — in the outdoor events.

Leave a Comment: