Do Oil Prices Affect Crime?

Well that question cannot really be answered by this article, but it is an interesting topic nonetheless.  I would say a lack of action by politicians and consumers to use renewable energy sources has more of an impact than anything else.  From the linked article:

LANSING (AP) — Michigan State Police troopers are being asked to drive about 20 percent less to save $2 million by Oct. 1 and help the state deal with a hole in its current budget.

Lt. Jim Shaw, commander at the State Police post in Jackson, said the effort to cut gas use won’t hurt public safety. Last year, the State Police put 35 million miles on a fleet that cost $14 million to run.

“We don’t want people thinking when they reach a certain mileage, they park the cars and go home,” Shaw told the Detroit Free Press for a Saturday story.

So they appear to be putting in mileage restrictions…

“We’re still responding to emergency runs like crashes, but we’re not patrolling as actively,” Williams said.

This would kinda scare worry me if I lived in Michigan…

“We’re making every effort to reduce our mileage and save gas.”

Troopers will respond to emergencies and traffic law violators regardless of the new limits, department spokeswoman Shanon Akans. But with gasoline prices pushing $2.50 per gallon, every mile counts, she added.

The effort to cut costs was ordered Feb. 14 to help erase an expected $13.6-million deficit in the State Police budget, Akans said. The department overspent by $6.6 million last fiscal year.

Mileage limits are firm but not absolute, and they vary among State Police posts based on the number of patrol cars and the miles troopers recorded last year. The state’s new budget year starts Oct. 1.

Cutting out useless miles that are driven is a good thing, but why not look at money spent on gas and wasted engine usage instead.  Improving the MPGs their fleet vehicles are getting would go much farther to cutting costs.  Also there could be an incentive program for those cops that get better MPGs than others.  Instead of eliminating waste, you encourage conservation.  Cops do need to put the petal to the metal to respond to emergencies or chase a suspect, but not all the time.  My car is rated at about 20mpgs, but due to my driving habits I can get about 30 even during the Winter.

I was trying to think about a good way to incorporate electric vehicles into the picture, but I can already foresee problems with this.  But it would be nice if some of the patrolmen/women had an EV that they charged at the precinct that used solar power…

9 thoughts on “Do Oil Prices Affect Crime?

  1. It would be interesting when oil starts to run out and the prices rise – I expect there would be fewer chases and consequently more frequent dangerous confrontations

  2. I would actually expect that patrolling cops would have some of the worst mileage possible—between taking off at high speeds, or prowling along slowly, or even idling at a stop, it seems guaranteed to be everything but what good mileage requires—a steady foot at a constant, efficient speed.  Let alone more powerful patrol cars (which I will not begrudge) are going to be less fuel-efficient.

    When the bad guys are all on EVs, I won’t have any objection to the cops being in them, too.

    That said—there are plenty of other state and local government (not to mention federal) vehicles out there that could very easily be much more fuel-efficient.  Cops are an awful target for this.

  3. That said—there are plenty of other state and local government (not to mention federal) vehicles out there that could very easily be much more fuel-efficient.  Cops are an awful target for this.

    I couldn’t agree with you more on this point.  Which is why I am glad to see Phoenix Motors doing their part.

    When the bad guys are all on EVs, I won’t have any objection to the cops being in them, too.

    I’m not sure what your objection to having some EV cop cars is.  EVs actually have better acceleration than Internal Combustion engines, and can still obtain top speeds in the 100s.  The only downside I can see would be long pursuits, but this is still a concern for IC engines because they will likely only have a 16 gallon tank which equates to roughly 200-300 miles.  This is about the range an EV can obtain.  More batteries would increase this even further.

  4. They could always be the first state to cancel property tax exemptions for churches with core beliefs in the invisible man syndrome. They’d harvest more than enough money in no time.
    Nah. The population would rather trade an obvious safety factor than a mystical one.  wink

  5. They could always be the first state to cancel property tax exemptions for churches

    Surely the church of the FSM&trade could also legally apply for tax exemptions, otherwise there could be a legal issue with discrimination

  6. ’m not sure what your objection to having some EV cop cars is.  EVs actually have better acceleration than Internal Combustion engines, and can still obtain top speeds in the 100s.  The only downside I can see would be long pursuits, but this is still a concern for IC engines because they will likely only have a 16 gallon tank which equates to roughly 200-300 miles.  This is about the range an EV can obtain.  More batteries would increase this even further.

    As they currently exist, I can safely say that EVs would be absolute crap for any police department in cold weather climates.  100+ miles per charge?  What’s that drop to when it’s 0 deg F?  Or when driving hard?  Less than 50 I’d assume.  In metropolitan areas, there’s a lot of successive rapid acceleration and deceleration.  I’ve driven 80 miles in one night, and that’s in Chicago, which is riddled with stoplights and stop signs.

    Furthermore, police departments use Crown Vics for two reasons:  they’re big (and still roomy enough when you throw a cage in them, a reason the Chicago Police aren’t renewing the contract they had to get Chevy Impalas), and they’re cheap.  I’ve read that Ford can still make a $2k profit selling Crown Vics at $18k.  Being on a truck style ladder frame that can take severe abuse (at the expense of weight) is also a big plus.

    I also wonder what EV would have better acceleration than an equivalent IC engined vehicle.  Sure, that Tesla Roadster does 0-60 in 4 seconds, and has a range of 250 miles highway, but it weighs all of 1140kgs and costs $90k.  It also tops out at 130mph, which my Nissan Sentra can do, and I’m pretty sure the Sentra has more drag than the Tesla.

    Electric cars aren’t going to succeed in the mass market unless there’s massive breakthroughs in battery technology, and it’s my understanding that predicted advances in battery performance are incremental.  Or when oil runs out/becomes outlandishly expensive.

  7. Rising gas prices do result in more crime, namely the crime of people gasing up their vehicles and taking off with not paying.  There was a rash of that kind of thing in British Columbia a year or two back when the price of gas hit a buck twenty a litre.

  8. What about putting pressure on auto makers to perfect 4/8 cylinder cars? I think Dodge has one on the market that uses 4 cylinders until you floor it, at which point it switches to using all 8. That seems ideal for a patrol car.

  9. Dodge is selling police package Chargers, with optional Hemi engines that have the cylinder deactivation, but they’re quite a bit more expensive than Crown Vics ($31k vs 26k msrp).

    The Crown Vic also doesn’t get all that bad of fuel economy for a vehicle it’s size, it’s rated at 17/26mpg, while the Charger R/T is rated at 17/25mpg.  Of course, the Charger has almost 100hp more, but there’s a V6 Charger that gets 19/27mpg, and still makes more horsepower than the standard V8 in the Crown Vic.

    That being said, the V6 Charger would probably be a good choice for a lot of departments.  Not that many departments have a need for something as fast as a Hemi Charger, what with the rather restrictive pursuit policies there are these days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.