This week is National Drive Electric Week, a nationwide celebration to raise awareness of the many benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars, trucks, motorcycles and more. While lots of people think of electric vehicles as good for the environment and fun to drive, not as many realize the health benefits of transitioning to electric vehicles.
Earlier this year we released a report, “Zeroing in on Healthy Air,” which looked at the health and climate benefits that would result from a transition to zero-emission transportation and non-combustion electricity generation over the coming decades. This includes 100 percent sales of zero-emission passenger cars by 2035 and of heavy-duty trucks by 2040 and shifting to non-combustion electricity generation by 2035.
Here are 5 things you should know:
- By 2050, transitioning to zero-emission transportation and electricity would result in $1.2 trillion in public health benefits nationwide.
- By 2050, transitioning to zero-emission transportation and electricity would result in 110,000 lives saved and more than 2.7 million asthma attacks avoided due to less pollution across the United States.
- Our “Zeroing in on Healthy Air” report breaks down the benefits of transitioning to zero-emission transportation and electricity by state. Want to learn about the report results in your state? Visit the report and choose your state from the drop-down menu to download a state-specific fact sheet.
- The transition away from combustion and toward zero-emission technologies can advance health equity. Lower income communities and communities of color are often over-burdened by nearby combustion of fuels for electricity generation and transportation due to decades of inequitable land use decisions and systemic racism. The transition to technologies like electric cars and trucks and wind and solar electricity would help communities with highways, ports, warehouses, refineries, power plants and other local sources of harmful pollution nearby.
- The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) recently passed by Congress and signed into law will make huge strides toward a clean air future. The IRA provides consumer tax credits to allow eligible individuals to receive up to $7,500 off the purchase of a new EV, or $4,000 off a used vehicle. It prioritizes low and medium-income consumers, and affordable electric vehicles, by establishing an income cut-off for credit recipients. The IRA also includes a tax incentive, estimated at $3.5 billion in value, for vehicles purchased for use in commercial fleets. The IRA contains $1 billion for investment in zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles, as well as related infrastructure and workforce development. The sweeping bill also includes grants to reduce air pollution at ports, measures to help clean up the federal government’s fleet, investments in domestic clean vehicle manufacturing, many measures to clean up the electricity grid, and more.
With real progress being made toward a clean transportation future, there is much to celebrate this National Drive Electric Week. But there is also much more work to do, and the health importance could not be greater.
Next week the American Lung Association will release a new report, “Delivering Clean Air: Health Benefits of Zero-Emission Trucks and Electricity,” which will look at the potential health benefits if all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sold are zero-emission by 2040 and all electricity generation is non-combustion by 2035. The report focuses specifically on counties with trucking corridors with 8,500 or more trucks trips per day. You’ll find the updated report at Lung.org/ev on October 4.
In the meantime, join the Lung Association in calling on our nation’s decision-makers to drive us all toward a zero-emission future. Take action today.
Blog last updated: August 25, 2023