The High Cost of Driving


Christine Jones

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The daily use of automobiles costs much more than the price of gasoline. The negative externalities associated with driving are numerous. They include, but are not limited to, adverse environmental effects (mainly the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere), congestion, vehicle accidents, reliance on foreign oil, and noise. There have been countless efforts to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. Of the policies introduced, the most highly discussed and debated are increasing the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards and increasing taxes on gasoline. This study begins with a review of policies proposed to reduce vehicle miles traveled and aims to explain why the use of cars is so prevalent, using Occidental College as a case study for student driving in and around the Los Angeles area. Data was collected through a survey given to students on Occidental?s campus on their driving habits. The survey was used to derive the main determinants of student driving and determine what policies should be implemented to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled per student. The data is baseline data, which can be used to determine the impact of the bike-sharing and zip-car programs implemented on the campus in the spring of 2010.


Bevin Ashenmiller




Walter B. Gerken Fellowship

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