$900 Billion in Health Benefits Likely from EV, Green Energy Adoption
Wednesday, June 21, 2023
With air quality in the news of late, a new report found transitioning to electric vehicles would bring major public health benefits.
The American Lung Association report showed moving the nation to 100% emission-free new passenger vehicles, along with non-combustion energy generation by 2035, could bring with it nearly a trillion dollars in public health benefits. The report estimated by 2050 there would be more than 89,000 fewer premature deaths, along with 10.7 million fewer lost workdays.
Will Barrett, national senior director for clean air advocacy for the American Lung Association, said the clean air impact for public health in Maryland amounts to billions of dollars.
"In Maryland that could amount to $23 billion in public health benefits out to 2050 and saving over 2000 lives," Barrett reported. "Because the air will be that much cleaner as we transition to zero emission passenger vehicles, as well as cleaner energy fueling them."
The report, titled "Driving to Clean Air," estimated the state would see 52,000 fewer asthma attacks and 260,000 fewer lost workdays by 2050.
Regional differences in air quality are a product not only of local vehicle traffic and industrial output, but as has been the case lately, more distant factors.
"Right now we're seeing the impacts of wildfire smoke coming into cities along the Eastern Seaboard," Barrett observed. "This is increasingly common, and it really speaks to the need to control all sources of harmful pollution. And as the transportation sector is the leading source of harmful pollution, we really need to be focused on getting to zero emission technologies as widely and quickly as possible."
Maryland is currently in the process of adopting Advanced Clean Cars II, a multistate compact which requires manufacturers to continuously increase the share of electric vehicle sales, reaching 100% in the state by 2035.
In March the American Lung Association published its annual "State of the Air" report, which found 120 million Americans live in areas with unhealthy levels of ozone and or particle pollution.
Barrett argued the transition from combustion to electricity is a critical health issue nationwide.
"There are millions and millions of Americans living with conditions that make them more vulnerable to poor air quality," Barrett noted. "At the same time, pollution from the transportation sector is linked with premature death due to cardiovascular issues, to lung cancer and it can cause the formation or onset of new cases of asthma in children and adults."
The report called for states to take advantage of the recent clean energy incentives included in the Inflation Reduction Act and the 2021 Infrastructure bill.
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