Electric cars and public transit save lives, this study proves

According to a study conducted by American academics, the gradual adoption of electric vehicles, the regulations around the limitation of fine particle emissions and the use of public transport have made it possible to drastically reduce the number of deaths linked to pollution in the United States in ten years.

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Slowly, but surely, many governments are mobilizing to make their transition to electric mobility. For example, the European Commission plans to get rid of diesel and petrol cars by 2035. In Britain, the British government even hopes to achieve this goal by 2030.

The environmental issue remains of course the main concern, but there is also another issue: reduce the number of deaths linked to the emission of fine particles. American academics have looked into the subject, by analyzing the effects of the various measures taken by the authorities on the subject between 2008 and 2017 in the USA.

Thus, they claim that the mortality attributable to the emission of fine particles PM 2.5 (diameter less than 2.5 microns) from transport would have been 2.4 times higher in 2017 whether vehicles had continued to emit levels comparable to those recorded in 2008.

Read also: Ford passes 5th and will produce 600,000 electric cars per year by 2023

Fine particles are killing less and less in the United States

The number of deaths linked to the emission of PM 2.5 is increased from 27,700 in the United States in 2008 to 19,800 in 2017. Economically, the reduction in the number of deaths is obviously being felt. As the study specifies, the various regulations adopted have produced significant benefits, in the order of 270 billion dollars in 2017. This sum takes into account the savings in health-related spending.

Specifically, these decades of environmental regulation in the United States have significantly reduced vehicle emissions, up to 99% per vehicle for the most common pollutants since 1970. The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that changes made since the 1990 Clean Air Act have cleared the air 2000 billion dollars per year. 90% of this amount comes directly from the reduction in mortality attributable to PM 2.5. Fuel efficiency standards and vehicle emission controls account for a significant portion of these gains.

Despite these encouraging figures, the researchers assure that efforts must be stepped up, especially at the local level. “Local policies can be effective as high impact primary emissions of PM 2.5 and NH3 are dispersed outside metropolitan areas. Complementary national policies for NOx are necessary because of their significant impacts – with low spatial variability – and their dispersion between states and metropolitan areas ”, these experts explain.

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