It’s been debated whether electric cars can help save the environment — but now, some experts are claiming a different benefit: your health.
Released a few days ago, a new report from the Environmental Defense Fund and the American Lung Association in California made a strong case for electric cars as not just an environmental solution, but a health-related one. With transportation contributing almost 70 percent of smog-forming gases and 40 percent of California’s climate change pollution every year, the authors stated that some of the many impacts of pollution include an increased risk of asthma attacks, heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, respiratory ailments, cancer, and shortened lifespan—adding that air pollution has been estimated by the California Air Resources Board to cause 9,200 deaths in California per year. Other recent research actually estimates that approximately 21,000 deaths per year in California are caused by roadway pollution.
The report states that the transition to electric cars can have a big impact on the health of California’s residents, “creating billions of dollars in annual economic benefits in the form of fewer missed work days and fewer hospital visits.” Namely:
• Savings of $8.3 billion in pollution-related health costs
• Prevention of 600 heart attacks and 880 premature deaths caused by air pollution
• Prevention of 38,000 asthma attacks and almost 75,000 lost work day
In other words, the impact could be life-saving, particularly for the 80 percent of California’s population that lives in areas defined as having unhealthy air, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Residents living near highways and busy roads are particularly impacted by tailpipe pollutants, with asthma, lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease all exacerbated by carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, sulfur oxides, and nitrogen oxides in the air.
The potential monetary savings are also huge, according to the report:
…And that’s just based on only 11.3 to 18.8 percent of California’s cars converting to running on carbon-free or low-polluting fuels.
This isn’t just a California issue, however. Though California, home to more than 30 million, vehicles ranks first in terms of the amount of energy used for transportation, other states aren’t too far behind:
Would you make the switch to an electric vehicle for the health benefits?