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Safety & Accident

Health Costs From Vehicle Emissions Studied

October 28, 2016

Photo courtesy of the American Lung Association.
Photo courtesy of the American Lung Association.

The health and climate costs of gasoline-powered vehicles operating in 10 states added $18.42 to the overall impact of a 16-gallon tank of gasoline in 2015, the American Lung Association claims in a new report.

At an average price of $2.23, gasoline for that 16-gallon tank would cost $35.68. Of the $18.42, $11.82 is associated with health costs and $6.55 is associated with climate costs.

The report advocates for a shift to zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) and studied the 10 states that have adopted ZEV mandates, including California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. A ZEV is defined as a battery-electric vehicle, plug-in hybrid vehicle, or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

Using 2015 as a baseline, the report estimates the reduced impact on health and climate costs if ZEVs made up 65% of all cars on the road by 2050. If that scenario unfolds, costs associated with vehicle pollution would fall to $15.7 billion from $37 billion annually.

Annual pollution-related impacts would drop by more than 85%, due to fewer lost work days caused by pollution-related illnesses, fewer asthma attacks and fewer premature deaths.

The report recommends that the California Air Resources Board strengthen the state's ZEV program in 2017 to ensure that 1.5 million ZEVs are on the road.

Read the association's full "Clean Air Future" report here.

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