Electric cars are already making California's air cleaner

Electric cars are already making California's air cleaner

A new study published by USC's Keck School of Medicine suggests that the increased prevalence of EVs in California is already driving "observed side benefits for health and air quality," especially in centers with a high density of electric vehicles. The new study looked at real-world data on pollution, EV density, emergency room visits from 2013 to 2019, and looked at overall improvements in air quality during the period.
The researchers found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, vehicles that produce fewer emissions such as hybrids and pure electrics made the air cleaner and caused fewer respiratory problems, and the benefits were observed to increase in areas with higher densities of battery-powered vehicles.

Technically speaking, for every 20 electric cars added to a community of 1,000 people, there was a 3.24% decrease in asthma-related emergency visit rates, as well as a marginal decrease in NO2 levels. “The health impacts of climate change can be difficult to discuss because they can sound very scary,” said Sandrah Eckel, PhD, senior author of the study and associate professor of population sciences and public health at Keck School of Medicine. “We are excited to shift the conversation towards climate change mitigation and adaptation, and these findings suggest that the transition to electric cars is a key driver of that.”

The study also found that EV adoption is more prevalent in some small cities with near-dramatic improvements; a large-scale application, perhaps in larger and more densely populated cities, could bring significantly higher benefits. Research reveals that this gap threatens the equitable distribution of benefits to underprivileged communities; moreover, a previous parallel study showed that the greatest respiratory problems arise in low-income neighborhoods that could take a completely different path if there were enough funds to encourage a mass transition.

With the hope that the electric cars become more commonplace and affordable, perhaps at a reduced purchase price, the study seems optimistic in confirming expectations that cleaner air will likely continue to cause fewer respiratory problems at the community level. “Most of the time we associate the electric car with climate change on a global scale […] but it would be more useful to imagine such changes at the community level to further incentivize the responsibilities at stake.” said Erika Garcia, PhD, MPH, lead author of the study.

“If continued research supports our findings, we want to make sure that those communities that are burdened with traffic-related air pollution are truly benefiting from this climate mitigation effort,” added Garcia.

Powered by Blogger.