The American Lung Association released a study proposing a national move towards electric vehicle (EV) transport. In particular, emphasizing the benefits of public health, air quality, and climate change that would result from increased use of electric cars. The organization predicts more than 6,000 lives saved, $70 billion in health cost savings, and $113 billion in climate-driven savings by 2050 if zero emissions from vehicles are achieved by that year.
“The widespread transition to zero-emission transportation technologies could produce emission reductions in 2050 that could add up to $72 billion in avoided health harms, saving approximately 6,300 lives and avoiding more than 93,000 asthma attacks and 416,000 lost workdays annually due to significant reductions in transportation-related pollution avoiding more than 93,000 asthma attacks and 416,000 lost workdays annually due to significant reductions in transportation-related pollution,” the report summarizes.
“[T]he benefits to our environment in the form of avoided climate change impacts, as expressed as the Social Cost of Carbon, could surpass $113 billion in 2050 as the transportation systems combust far less fuel and our power system comes to rely on cleaner, non-combustion renewable energy. This value reflects a range of negative consequences to health, agricultural productivity, flood risk and other adverse impacts generated by carbon emissions in the form of global climate change.”
The American Lung Association (ALA) offers a series of contrasts of decreased pollution to the existing atmosphere in “The Road to Clean Air.” All states in the US have shown substantial benefits in terms of health and economic growth, but given traffic congestion and pedestrian proximity to vehicle pollution, particular metro areas have been highlighted. “Eighteen states show annual benefits reaching $1 billion or more in 2050 while even the smallest states see benefits in the tens to hundreds of millions,” the report explained.
“The transition to zero-emission transportation will benefit the health of children riding school buses, daily commuters and transit riders, truckers and local delivery drivers and especially those residents nearest major roadways, warehouse distribution centers and other pollution hotspots,” the report added.
In addition to outlining the benefits of a zero-emission transportation sector in the US, the ALA also made a few suggestions for action. This included developing policies at the federal and local level that emphasize zero-emission transportation (extending incentive schemes, increasing grant funding for bus / truck purchases) and engaging in infrastructure improvements to allow for charging networks in all areas where they will be required for widespread adoption (parking garages, offices, multi-unit homes). On an individual basis, the ALA suggested shifting energy suppliers to those with renewable energy sources and test driving (finally purchasing if on the market) to familiarize themselves with their characteristics and benefits.
The long-term societal benefits that EVs like Teslas can deliver are well known to their most enthusiastic supporters and this recent ALA study is yet more proof of the evidence that drives their advocacy. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is counted as some of the most outspoken and action-oriented about these potentials, with both his fans and fans of the company’s vehicles following suit. Since the publication of Musk’s first Master Plan in 2006, Tesla has been pushing for the potential zero-emissions transportation set out in the latest study by the American Lung Association. The tunneling of all-electric vehicles by the Boring Company providing the passenger ferrying would also play a part in this venture, even if not originally included. Finally, with Tesla’s renewed focus on increasing the company’s renewable energy operation, Musk and company hope to tackle the climate change impacts on both US and international health as well.
Read the ALA’s electric vehicle report here.
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