American Lung Association in California urges strong state action this week to require millions of near-zero and zero emission cars by 2025

New data demonstrates air quality and health benefits of zero emission vehicles

Los Angeles, CA (January 24, 2012)

As the California Air Resources Board considers tighter vehicle emission standards this week, the American Lung Association in California urges regulators to seize this historic opportunity to improve air quality and public health for generations to come. New data released by the American Lung Association in California confirms the tremendous public health benefits of adopting the “Advanced Clean Car” standards and setting the course for a zero emission future.

These new standards are a breath of fresh air for residents in California. “Californians continue to suffer from some of the most polluted air in America, and we need state action now to bring relief,” said Jane Warner, President and CEO, the American Lung Association in California. “Adopting the clean cars package and strengthening California’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program is the right solution for California’s dirty air. We strongly urge the state board to ensure that the new standards generate millions of ZEVs as quickly as possible.”

New data generated in the American Lung Association in California’s Road to Clean Air II confirmed the health and economic benefits of ZEVs. According to the Lung Association analysis, if California were to transition to a complete fleet of ZEVs, the state could avoid $13 billion in annual health, environmental and other societal damages compared to vehicles operating under today’s standards. This avoided cost means that each year, California could avoid over 230,000 respiratory symptoms as well as 50,000 lost school and work days, 10,000 asthma attacks and over 500 premature deaths due to the transition to ZEVs. California also could eliminate nearly 260 tons per day of smog-forming gases. A zero emission future is the direction California must take to achieve clean and healthy air and reach our greenhouse gas reduction goals.

In order to achieve the greatest health benefits and support full commercialization of zero emission technologies, the standards should set a target of approximately 2 million zero emission technology vehicles by 2025, protect the ZEV Program from loopholes that will erode this goal, and require cars to meet strong particle pollution standards as quickly as possible.

As noted in the annual American Lung Association State of the Air report, many California cities and counties continue to rank among the most polluted areas in America. “In the most polluted areas of California, residents breathe unhealthy air up to 130 days per year. This dirty air contributes to premature deaths, asthma attacks and chronic lung illnesses.  This burden of pollution especially threatens the over 600,000 of our children with asthma in California,” said Dr. David Cooke, a lung surgeon and Board Member with the American Lung Association in California.

This pollution takes a toll on public health, especially for children, seniors and millions of Californians living with asthma and other lung health challenges.  The proposed advanced clean cars program targets significant reductions in smog, soot and greenhouse gases that endanger the public’s health now and long into the future.

The Advanced Clean Car package before CARB this week expands, strengthens and links several existing programs aimed at reducing pollution from vehicles, including the Low-Emission Vehicle program, the ZEV Program and the Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Program. The state Air Resources Board is scheduled to adopt the new standards during a two day meeting in Los Angeles on January 26-27, 2012.