Switching to electric vehicles would save lives, time and money, and the D.C. area would be one of the prime beneficiaries, a new study finds.
The American Lung Association’s Road to Clean Air report placed D.C. among the top 10 metropolitan areas that would benefit from a switchover to electric cars, buses and trucks by the middle of the century.
Compared with a “business as usual” scenario, the D.C. area would see about 175 fewer premature deaths a year by 2050; nearly 3,000 fewer asthma attacks; about 12,000 fewer lost workdays per year and more than $2 million in public health benefits, the association said in a statement. Nationwide, about 6,300 lives would be saved per year, the report found.
The group added that the hardships of fossil-fuel pollution fall hardest on Black and Latino communities, citing an earlier ALA report that found that Black and Latino residents were 1.5 times as likely to be living in a county with at least one failing grade for unhealthy ozone days, particle pollution days and annual particle levels, and 3.2 times as likely to live in a county that fails on all three scores.
The report includes recommended actions for federal and state governments, as well as individual people. Among the recommendations:
- The federal government should prioritize zero-emissions transportation, including grants to buyers, as well as making the building of zero-emissions infrastructure a priority in the plan to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic;
- State governments should follow California’s lead on standards for passenger vehicles and trucks, as well as converting public transportation to electric vehicles;
- Local governments should convert public vehicles such as garbage trucks and transit and school buses to electric vehicles, as well as making charging stations readily available and adjusting community plans to encourage walking and biking;
- Individuals should test-drive an electric vehicle and strongly consider it for their next purchase.