Cheaper gas means more road trips, more pocket change and fewer stops at the local Chevron. For consumers who commute to a variety of places — work, daycare, home, etc. — there doesn’t appear to be any drawbacks to a reduction in gas prices. Yet if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. NPR’s Shankar Vedantam recently spoke about how the reduction in gas prices is inadvertently contributing to a higher rate of accidents on the road, and the consequential.
By studying the connection between the price of gas and road fatalities in 144 countries, Vedantam discovered that lower gas prices — whether they’re in Provo, Utah or the Midwest — resulted in more traffic-related deaths, while higher gas prices were repeatedly associated with fewer fatalities.
20-Cent Decline Linked to 15 Deaths Annually
Throughout the course of his research, Vedantam spoke with a sociologist named Guangqing Chi. Chi has been studying the connection between gas prices and road fatalities all over the United States, from smaller cities like Provo to more densely-populated cities on the East Coast. Chi discovered that a 20-cent decline in gas prices within the state of Minnesota was consequently linked to 15 deaths annually, and an overall increase in the need of an auto accident lawyer for those involved in injuries and fatalities linked to gas prices.
Cheaper Gas Equates to More Driving
Chi speculates that if gas prices were to drop by a couple of dollars — $2, to be exact — that road fatalities would increase to 9,000 annually within the United States. Vedantam logically speculates that the drop in gas prices translates to more driving, and thus increased odds for accidents and road fatalities. As gas prices decrease and road fatalities increase, the individual need for an auto accident lawyer has correspondingly increased as well. Our advice? Enjoy the reduced gas prices while they last, but be aware of the increased risks of accidents on the road.