Conflicting Objectives in Regulating the Automobile

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Science  22 May 1981:
Vol. 212, Issue 4497, pp. 893-899
DOI: 10.1126/science.212.4497.893


Federal regulation of automobile safety, emissions, and fuel economy is contradictory. Safety equipment and emissions control reduce fuel economy; reducing the size of automobiles is estimated to increase fatalities by 1400 a year and significantly increase serious injuries. These secondary impacts of regulation roughly double the estimated costs of achieving the individual goals. In formulating regulations, these contradictions must be taken into account, along with the effects on the price of the vehicle and its attractiveness to buyers.