We know emissions from vehicles cause air pollution, and that air pollution is responsible for breathing issues and severe illness.
While no vehicle is perfect, EVs have been shown to reduce particulate matter in the air and increase public health by reduction of emissions.
What Kind of Emissions Cause Air Pollution?
There are two major categories of emissions: direct and life cycle. According to Energy.gov, direct emissions are emitted through the tailpipe, through evaporation from the fuel system, and during the fueling process. Direct emissions include smog-forming pollutants (such as nitrogen oxides), other pollutants harmful to human health, and greenhouse gases (GHGs), primarily carbon dioxide. Life cycle emissions however include ALL emissions, not only from use of the vehicle, but also from its creation, such the drilling, processing, distribution, and use of petroleum, and waste products created from batteries.
All-electric vehicles produce zero direct emissions, which specifically helps improve air quality in urban areas.
According to accessscience.com, studies have shown that EVs not only reduce air pollution when electricity comes from renewable resources can reduce particulate matter in the air caused by EVs to nearly zero.
According to phys.org, a study conducted on the effect of electric cars on air pollution found that, “the more cars that transitioned to electric power, the better for summertime ozone levels,” Schnell said. “No matter how the power is generated, the more combustion cars you take off the road, the better the ozone quality.”
What Does This Mean for Public Health?
Poor air quality standards create illness and substantially increase medical costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a study by Rand Health proved that “between 2005-2007, nearly 30,000 emergency room visits and hospital admissions in California could have been avoided if federal clean-air standards had been met”. The resulting medical costs are estimated at $193 million.
Air pollution causes asthma, cardiovascular disease, impairs lung development in children, and has been linked to leukemia and severe lung diseases. The key to eliminating these diseases is often prevention and improving air quality, is a step toward improving public health.
Preventative healthcare has been an important part of medicine for decades. Improving air quality can help prevent disease, promote health, and support the community.
Improving Public Health
Many healthcare providers are seeing a connection between environmental health and personal health.
Many healthcare centers have taken the initiative to install electric vehicle charging stations. When asked why he decided to install Blink chargers at their healthcare center, E. Nawrocki, President of St. Luke’s-Anderson, said “we want to encourage people to have sustainable practices. It’s the future.”