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The Association of Gasoline Prices With Hospital Utilization and Costs for Motorcycle and Nonmotorcycle Motor Vehicle Injuries in the United States

Zhu, He PhD; Wilson, Fernando A. PhD; Stimpson, Jim P. PhD; Araz, Ozgur M. PhD; Kim, Jungyoon PhD; Chen, Baojiang PhD; Wu, Li-Tzy ScD

doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000553
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Objectives: This study examined the association between gasoline prices and hospitalizations for motorcycle and nonmotorcycle motor vehicle crash (MVC) injuries.

Methods: Data on inpatient hospitalizations were obtained from the 2001 to 2010 Nationwide Inpatient Sample. Panel feasible generalized least squares models were used to estimate the effects of monthly inflation-adjusted gasoline prices on hospitalization rates for MVC injuries and to predict the impact of increasing gasoline taxes.

Results: On the basis of the available data, a $1.00 increase in the gasoline tax was associated with an estimated 8348 fewer annual hospitalizations for nonmotorcycle MVC injuries, and reduced hospital costs by $143 million. However, the increase in the gasoline tax was also associated with an estimated 3574 more annual hospitalizations for motorcycle crash injuries, and extended hospital costs by $73 million.

Conclusions: This analysis of some existing data suggest that the increased utilization and costs of hospitalization from motorcycle crash injuries associated with an increase in the price of gasoline are likely to substantially offset reductions in nonmotorcycle MVC injuries. A policy decision to increase the gasoline tax could improve traffic safety if the increased tax is paired with public health interventions to improve motorcycle safety.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

*Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

Department of Health Services Research and Administration, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE

Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York, New York, NY

§Department of Management, College of Business Administration, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE

Department of Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: He Zhu, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, P.O. Box 3903, Durham, NC 27710. E-mail: he.zhu@duke.edu.

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