Online Program

Trends in Gasoline Prices and Motor Vehicle Crash Injuries in 28 OECD Countries, 1993-2012

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:43 p.m.

Jim P. Stimpson, PhD, CUNY School of Public Health, City University of New York, New York, NY
He Zhu, MA, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Fernando Wilson, PhD, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Background: Fluctuations in gasoline prices have been associated with changes in the risk of motor vehicle crashes in the empirical literature in recent years, yet little is known about cross-national differences in motor vehicle crash risk associated with gasoline prices. The purpose of this study is to compare country-level variation in motor vehicle crash rates and gasoline prices.

Methods: We examined 20 years (1993-2012) of road safety and economic data from 28 countries reported by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Energy Agency. The outcome variables were log-transformed injuries and fatalities per million population. The predictor variable was the total dollar price per liter of regular unleaded gasoline adjusted for inflation and purchasing power parity across countries. Regression results were adjusted for percent urban population, unemployment rate, GDP per capita, year and country fixed effects. 

Results: Fixed-effects regression indicated a negative association between inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and crash injuries. A 10% increase in gasoline price was associated with a statistically significant decrease of 5.2% in motor vehicle fatality rates and a 2.4% decrease in injury rates. If the average OECD country reduced gasoline taxes to that of the US (from $1.01 to $0.14 per liter), the model predicts fatality rates would increase by 26.1% and injury rates by 12.1%.

Conclusions: An increase in gasoline price was associated with lower rates of motor vehicle injuries and fatalities in the 28 OECD countries studied. More cross-national research is needed to identify causal mechanisms underlying this association, and whether increasing gasoline prices is an effective policy option to reduce motor vehicle crashes.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the association of gas prices and motor vehicle crashes at the country level

Keyword(s): Motor Vehicles, Economic Analysis

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a tenured full professor of health policy and director of the center for health policy at UNMC.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.