HEALTH

New report says electric vehicles could prevent deaths, improve health

Mar 30, 2022, 4:28 PM

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An electric vehicle charges at a charging station at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. (Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — An American Lung Association report outlined health benefits that a transition to electric vehicles could produce.

The report, titled “Zeroing in on Healthy Air”, found that transitioning to zero-emission vehicles would “yield tremendous air quality, public health and climate benefits across the United States.”

Breaking the report down

The report highlighted the risk that air pollution poses to Americans’ health.

“The transportation sector is a leading contributor to air pollution and climate change,” said Nick Torres, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Utah.

The association said climate change poses a threat to all Americans. It said poor air quality can lead to childhood asthma attacks, impaired lung function, premature deaths, and more.

The report also noted the disparity in the way air pollution affects the population. It noted people of color are three times more likely to breathe more polluted air than people who are white. 

The report is based on the assumption that “all new passenger vehicles sold are zero-emission by 2035 and all new trucks and buses sold are zero-emission by 2040. The report projects that the nation’s electric grid will be powered by clean, non-combustion electricity replacing dirty fossil fuels by 2035.”

The association said the report made those assumptions in order to show the potential benefits zero emissions could offer.

What transitioning to electric vehicles could bring

The association found that the transition would “generate more than $1.2 trillion in health benefits and $1.7 trillion in additional climate benefits by 2050.”

In Utah specifically, the report said the transition would prevent 506 premature deaths. It would also bring $5.7 billion in health benefits to Utah by 2050.

The association said that achieving the benefits the report outlined would take investments from all levels of government. It added that public education and engagement would also be necessary.

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New report says electric vehicles could prevent deaths, improve health