EVs Could Save $978B In Public Health Costs By 2050: Report

EVs Could Save $978B In Public Health Costs By 2050: Report

Studies are already showing the public health benefits of electric vehicles, which are shown to result in cleaner air than their gas counterparts. In one recent report, the American Lung Association (ALA) has highlighted some of these benefits, even saying that EV adoption could prevent tens of thousands of premature deaths in the next few decades.

Above: Tesla cars parked in an open lot (Image: Casey Murphy / EVANNEX).

In the “Driving to Clean Air: Health Benefits of Zero-Emission Cars and Electricity,” report, the ALA predicts that transitioning to passenger EVs could save as much as $978 billion in public health costs by 2050, and prevent as many as 89,300 premature deaths related to lung diseases (via electrek). The report suggests that states and the federal government begin deploying laws to shift away from gas vehicles, as some states like California and New York have mandated.

Released earlier this month, the report includes a data analysis from modeling tools estimating fleet characteristics and emissions profiles. These tools included the U.S. EPA Moves2021 model, the ICF’s custom fleet modeling system, and electricity generation emission data from the Argonne National Lab’s GREET Model. Lastly, the analysis utilized the U.S. EPA’s COBRA health model.

Together, these models were used to provide estimates on state-to-state air quality, work missed due to lung-related illness, and fatalities due to lung-related afflictions. Along with preventing almost 90,000 premature lung-related fatalities, the report says a full switch to passenger EVs could result in 2.2 million fewer asthma attacks and 10.7 million fewer workdays lost by 2050.

The organization also draws on its annual “State of the Air” report, which found this year that as many as 35 percent of Americans are living in areas with unhealthy ozone levels and/or particle pollution, representing 120 million people in the U.S. In addition, the ALA cites a recent study from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, which showed major reductions in asthma-related ER visits following increased EV adoption in certain areas.

As for solutions, the organization recommends that states implement Clean Air Act standards that are more “health protective than federal standards,” emphasizing that equitable distribution of EV incentives to low-income communities is key. Referring to the mandates in California, New York, Oregon, Washington and others, the ALA points to two key policies it deems necessary to reduce emissions:

  • “Advanced Clean Cars I” standard (ACC I): features stronger emission standards for combustion engines and requirements for automakers to produce increasing percentages of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) through 2025.
  • “Advanced Clean Cars II” standard (ACC II): builds on ACC I standards and requires that 100 percent of new passenger vehicles sold be zero-emission vehicles by 2035, with interim year targets requiring increasing percentages of ZEVs. ACC II also requires stronger emissions standards for combustion vehicles to 2035.

Each of these standards has been adopted by a number of states, with the latter being the aforementioned mandate passed in California and elsewhere.

You can see the ALA’s full “Driving to Clean Air: Health Benefits of Zero-Emission Cars and Electricity” report here, along with a state-by-state breakdown of public health savings and a map of states that have adopted ACC I and ACC II.


Sources: American Lung Association / electrek