The Clean Air Revolution: Electric Cars Making California Healthier
Feb. 13, 2023.
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According to a new study from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, the increased use of electric vehicles has resulted in cleaner air in California. The study, which tracked real-world pollution levels, electric car penetration, and emergency room visits across the state from 2013 to 2019, discovered that areas with higher EV penetration had lower nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and fewer asthma-related emergency room visits.
Every 20 EVs per 1,000 Californians in a specific zip code was linked to a 3.2% decrease in asthma-related ER visits and a.41ppb decrease in nitrogen dioxide concentrations. During the study period, the installed base of EVs in California increased from 1.4 to 14.7 cars per 1,000 people, and even with such a small number of EVs, the benefits of cleaner air were seen.
While the benefits of cleaner air have not been distributed equally, as poorer areas have fewer EVs, the study emphasizes the importance of reducing fossil fuel pollution, which the IMF estimates costs the world $5.3 trillion in health and environmental costs each year.
However, the challenges of getting EVs into poorer areas, such as upfront costs and access to off-street parking, must be addressed. Tax credits for used EVs and improved public transportation are among the solutions that can provide disproportionate benefits to poorer communities.
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