Charles Lave

About Charles Lave (Edit profile)

Charles Lave was Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of California, Irvine (calave@uci.edu).

A New CAFÉ

Charles Lave

Over the past six months, a National Academy of Sciences panel has been working intensively on a congressionally mandated evaluation of federal regulations on fuel economy in cars. The panel concluded that significant, cost-effective, safety-enhancing improvements were possible. Its report received extensive peer review and was published under the aegis of the National Research Council in a report titled “Effectiveness and Impact of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE ) Standards.” I was a member of that panel and in the following two essays, I want to review of some of the issues raised in its deliberations. The analytic material comes from the panel’s report; the opinions are my own.

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THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Déjà Vu All Over Again, Speed Limits Raised Fatalities Fall

Charles Lave

Despite opposition from many nation safety groups, in November 1995 Congress gave the states permission to raise speed limits. Opponents had testified that raising speed limits would cause and additional 4,400 to 6,000 deaths per year. Fortunately, it didn’t work out that way.

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THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Travel by Carless Households

Richard Crepeau and Charles Lave

Over the past thirty years the federal government has funded extensive programs to improve travel options for people who do not have their own vehicles. During this same period, independent of government actions, economic and demographic trends have diminished the target population and made vehicle access nearly universal, even among the poorest households. In 1969, 20.6 percent of households (HHs) had no vehicle. By 1983 this ratio had fallen to 13.5 percent. By 1990, it fell to 9.2 percent of HHs. Further, HHs without vehicles tend to be smaller than average, so in 1990 the zero-vehicle HHs comprised only 6.4 percent of the population.

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Are Americans Really Driving So Much More?

Charles Lave

Many people seem to think that increased VMT (vehicle miles traveled) spells trouble. VMT growth bothers environmentalists because it implies greater energy consumption and pollution. VMT growth concerns urban planners because it suggests increased sprawl and decreased transit use.

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Higher Speed Limits May Save Lives

Charles Lave

Congress may soon pass a law that allows states to set their own speed limit. What might happen if state choose to raise these? We don’t need to guess. We can examine what happened when states were allowed to raise certain speed limits in 1987. The result: Higher speed limits caused and overall gain in safety.

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THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Slowdown Ahead For the Domestic Auto Industry

Charles Lave

Figure 1 has some interesting patterns and some disquieting implications. The big fluctuation in sales reflects the business cycle. Cars are durable, long-lived goods; they don't necessarily have to be replaced in any given year. So when the economy is down, people can postpone new-car purchases. Growth is another obvious pattern in the graph. Yearly vehicle sales doubled between 1960 and 1973. Given the enormous size and widespread influence of the auto industry, this boom was a major force behind the growth of the U.S. economy.

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2017-05-19T22:58:04+00:00Categories: ACCESS 06, Spring 1995|

It Wasn’t Supposed to Turn Out Like This: Federal Subsidies and Declining Transit Productivity

Charles Lave

Consider the urban transit "problem." In the 1960s the problem was declining transit patronage. Finances received little discussion because the industry was essentially self-supporting: operating costs were so low that passenger revenues covered costs. In the 1990s "problem" has a whole new meaning: financial deficits. Today, most transit revenue comes from governments, not passengers, and the result is continual fiscal crisis-the search for money to continue the subsidies.

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THE ACCESS ALMANAC: Love, Lies, and Transportation in L.A.

Charles Lave

In the past six months Angelenos have been shaken by earthquakes and scorched by brush fires. Sort of like lumps of tofu in a stir-fry wok. But, what the hell, we're tough out here. We can take it. What does scare us, though, is suffocation. We're about to go down for the third time in the sea of media clichés that followed the quake. One more mention of "California's love affair with the car" and we're goners. That's not us. If we wanted to fondle cars, we'd be somewhere in Alabama.

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2018-02-07T23:40:03+00:00Categories: ACCESS 04, Spring 1994|

Clean for a Day: CA vs. the EPA’s Smog Check Mandates

Charles Lave

In the Spring of 1993 California and the EPA faced-off over the EPA's new mandates for checking auto emissions. The California Senate asked the University of California Transportation Center to provide a "blue ribbon" evaluation of the issues. This article tells what we discovered. The final picture is not clear enough to distinguish good guys from bad guys, but we can see well enough to know that the EPA's new national rules for smog checks are deeply flawed.

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