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Sightline: The Pizza Metaphor

By Erica C. Barnett July 12, 2011

Sightline's Alan Durning offers a brilliant metaphor that sums up what's wrong with not allowing people to buy car insurance based on how much they drive. We'll call it the Pizza Metaphor: Imagine if city law required you to buy an entire pizza every time you wanted a slice. "You’d have to buy and eat a lot of pizza when you got a hankering. Either that, or you’d have to give up pizza entirely. By-the-slice pizza lets light eaters save money."

Similarly, drivers have to pay for a lot of insurance whether they drive a lot or a little---or give up driving entirely. It's an unfair system that disproportionately burdens people who choose to use their cars less (and, conversely, encourages driving---the source of half our greenhouse-gas emissions here in the Puget Sound.)

The alternative? Pay-as-you-drive insurance.
It gives families a new way to save money, by driving less. It also lets low-income drivers buy just a little insurance. It gives consumers more choices. And it creates a gentle, money-saving incentive to find alternatives to driving alone. This incentive yields fewer car crashes, less consumption of imported gasoline, less congestion, and less air pollution.

Read the whole pay-as-you-drive pitch, including the obstacles to mileage-based insurance in Washington State, here.
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