CHICAGO | September 14, 2020
Climate change threatens the health of all Americans, and nearly half of Americans are living with and breathing unhealthy air. The transportation sector is a leading contributor to both climate change and air pollution, and a new report from the American Lung Association finds that a widespread transition to electric cars, buses and trucks - increasingly powered by clean, non-combustion renewable energy - would benefit the lives and health of Americans across the nation.
“The Road to Clean Air” report outlines the broad benefits of the transition to an electric transportation sector over the coming decades, avoiding approximately 6,300 premature deaths and preventing more than 93,000 asthma attacks and 416,000 lost workdays per year based on emission reductions in 2050. These public health benefits are valued at over $72 billion based on pollution reductions in 2050. The transition to electric vehicles would also help avoid the worst impacts of climate change, with avoided climate impacts valued at up to $113 billion in 2050. The economic benefits outlined in the report could be just the beginning as transitioning the electricity grid to cleaner, non-combustion renewable power and developing new electric vehicle technologies drives greater innovation and supports green jobs.
“America stands to benefit from cleaner air through a transition to electric vehicles,” said American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer. “Electric vehicles mean zero emissions from cars, buses and trucks, translating to cleaner air and better health for all Americans. Such a transition would also help address the climate emergency, which threatens the health and future of all Americans today.”
The top 10 metro regions that “The Road to Clean Air” finds stand to benefit the most from a transition to electric vehicles in 2050 include:
- Los Angeles, Calif.
- New York City, NY
- San Francisco, Calif.
- Chicago, Ill.
- Dallas, Texas
- Washington, D.C.
- San Diego, Calif.
- Houston, Texas
- Miami, Fla
- Philadelphia, PA
Climate change threatens the health of all Americans, from wildfires and extreme storms to worsening air pollution. And poor air quality caused by transportation pollution contributes to a wide range of negative health impacts, including childhood asthma attacks, impaired lung function and development, lung cancer, heart attacks and strokes and premature deaths. As shown in the Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report, low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by bad air quality.
“Everyone deserves to breathe clean, healthy air where they live, work and play. The transition to electric vehicles will benefit everyone, from children riding school buses, daily commuters and transit riders to truck drivers and residents near busy roads, warehouse distribution centers and other diesel hotspots,” Wimmer said. “Low-income communities and communities of color often face greater exposures to transportation pollution, not just from tailpipes, but from the whole process of extraction, refining and transport of fossil fuels. By moving away from this system to electric vehicles powered by clean energy, we can transform our nation’s health and future.”
Achieving these major benefits to our health and our climate will require dedicated and sustained leadership and investment at all levels of government, and will require public education and engagement to ensure the transition to electric vehicles provides clean air for everyone. The Lung Association is encouraging all Americans to sign a petition to state Governors in support of the critical transition to electric vehicles across the United States.
For more information about “The Road to Clean Air” report visit Lung.org/ev. Journalists seeking to speak with a policy or medical expert about the benefits of a transition to electric vehicles and the health impacts of air pollution or climate change may contact Stephanie Goldina at [email protected] or 312-801-7629.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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