New study finds hybrid drivers drive more and are more dangerous

Geoffrey Lawrence

A recent study by San Francisco-based Quality Planning illustrates a very basic principle of economics. That is, when you decrease the cost of engaging in a specific activity, people will do it more often.

In this case, when increased fuel efficiency lowers the marginal cost of driving, individuals are likely to drive more. This study confirms what many economists have said for years about the hybrid craze – it will have only a limited impact on the consumption or price of gasoline because higher fuel efficiency only leads to more driving.

An interesting finding of this study is that drivers of hybrid vehicles are also nearly twice as likely to get moving violations as the average driver. Collision costs are also about 17 percent higher for drivers of hybrids than average. These are both indications that drivers of hybrid vehicles are generally more reckless than others.

This conclusion is an odd one considering that hybrids are generally smaller and less safe than the average vehicle – which generally would lead to more cautious driving. I guess hybrid owners truly are an exceptional breed!

Geoffrey Lawrence

Geoffrey Lawrence

Director of Research

Geoffrey Lawrence is director of research at Nevada Policy.

Lawrence has broad experience as a financial executive in the public and private sectors and as a think tank analyst. Lawrence has been Chief Financial Officer of several growth-stage and publicly traded manufacturing companies and managed all financial reporting, internal control, and external compliance efforts with regulatory agencies including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Lawrence has also served as the senior appointee to the Nevada State Controller’s Office, where he oversaw the state’s external financial reporting, covering nearly $10 billion in annual transactions. During each year of Lawrence’s tenure, the state received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers’ Association.

From 2008 to 2014, Lawrence was director of research and legislative affairs at Nevada Policy and helped the institute develop its platform of ideas to advance and defend a free society.  Lawrence has also written for the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, with particular expertise in state budgets and labor economics.  He was delighted at the opportunity to return to Nevada Policy in 2022 while concurrently serving as research director at the Reason Foundation.

Lawrence holds an M.A. in international economics from American University in Washington, D.C., an M.S. and a B.S. in accounting from Western Governors University, and a B.A. in international relations from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.  He lives in Las Vegas with his beautiful wife, Jenna, and their two kids, Carson Hayek and Sage Aynne.