No, Millions of Cars Are Not Catching Fire Every Year

car on fire

Marc UrbanoVehicle and Driver

“We may well have slightly overestimated the claimed share price for fires offered by the AutoinsuranceEZ corporation, as a few readers pointed out. As a result, we have revised the textual content to clarify that the claimed price of fires is likely around 2 to 3 p.c of all automobiles, not 5 as we at first approximated. However, since we can’t know the whole quantities of hybrid vs. ICE autos referenced in the study, we can not make a closer calculation.”

Past month, the New York Occasions ran a story about EV basic safety and vehicle fires that caught our eye around here at the C/D Department of Fishy Assertions. Titled “Hurdle to Broad Adoption of EVs: The Misperception That They’re Unsafe,” it argues that electric powered vehicles capture fireplace fewer usually than common inside-combustion cars and trucks or hybrids. It reads, in aspect:

AutoInsuranceEZ studied the frequency of fires—from all leads to, together with collisions—in cars in 2021. It identified that hybrid cars, which have an interior combustion motor and an electric powered motor, had the most fires per 100,000 autos (3475), while autos with just an internal combustion motor put 2nd (1530 per 100,000). Fully electric powered motor vehicles experienced the fewest: 25 per 100,000. These findings had been primarily based on details from the National Transportation Basic safety Board and the Bureau of Transportation Figures.

You you should not have to be a specialist statistician to see that these AutoInsuranceEZ figures look a wee bit questionable. Mainly because, EVs and hybrids apart, if 1530 typical interior-combustion vehicles (aka, “most of the autos”) are catching fireplace for every 100,000 cars, that would equate to millions of car or truck fires each year—as of 2020, there were being approximately 270 million registered passenger cars in the US. Consider that: You would surely know somebody whose vehicle caught fire. Perhaps your vehicle caught fireplace. It could be on fire suitable now! “Oh, a different car or truck fireplace,” you would say, driving past the 3rd conflagration of your early morning commute.

Probably they are comparing all fires with a single yr of new-automobile sales? We are going to permit you know if we untangle this.

Vehicle and Driver

To check out to determine out where by these quantities arrived from, we initial contacted the Countrywide Transportation Basic safety Board, purported source for the car-hearth figures. And the NTSB’s spokesman instructed us, “There is no NTSB database that tracks freeway motor vehicle fires. We do not know what details AutoInsuranceEZ used for its investigate, but it did not come from an NTSB databases.” They advised that maybe the study authors puzzled the NTSB with NHTSA, the Nationwide Highway Website traffic Security Administration. So we contacted NHTSA.

And guess what? NHTSA doesn’t obtain hearth info in this way, possibly. NHTSA—which we ought to connect with “the NHTSA,” but that appears weird—collects data on crashes but suggests that only about 5 per cent of fires are crash-associated. So they count on other resources for data, like the Nationwide Hearth Incident Reporting System (NFIRS). Which, in any situation, isn’t going to categorize fires according to the form of vehicle powertrain.

At this point you may possibly be inquiring no matter whether your car or truck is likely to catch fire or what, so here is what we uncovered. According to the Countrywide Fire Defense Affiliation, which gets its information from the NFIRS, passenger vehicles averaged 117,400 fires annually amongst 2013 and 2017. And the Bureau of Transportation Statistics suggests that there had been 261,037,752 registered vehicles in the US in 2018 (excluding semi-trucks, bikes, and buses). So, do a little division, have the a person . . . and that equals .04 % of motor vehicles catching fire in a presented 12 months.

We arrived at out to AutoinsuranceEZ (which appears to be a lead generator for car or truck insurance policy organizations), and we’ll permit you know if they at any time get again to us, but in the meantime, this is your fantastic information for the working day: Regardless of regardless of whether you generate a Rivian, a Prius, or a Cutlass Supreme donk, your motor vehicle likely will not ever capture fire. But if you however want to wear Nomex underpants, we are not gonna quit you.

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