Switching to electric vehicles could prevent numerous deaths and save the state of New Jersey billions of dollars a year, according to a new report released by the American Lung Association.
The ALA’s electric vehicle report – The Road to Clean Air – details a range of public health and environmental benefits researchers say would likely accompany a switch from gas and diesel vehicles to electric alternatives. New Jersey is one of 16 major metro regions in the U.S. that would benefit the most from a transition to electric cars, buses, shuttles, and commercial trucks and vans could.
As the report notes, a switch to electric vehicles could:
- Prevent roughly 169 deaths and more than 2,300 asthma attacks each year in New Jersey.
- Avoid as many as 11,000 days of lost work caused by adverse health effects.
- Save New Jersey close to $2 billion in public health benefits annually.
Nationally, the numbers are even more pronounced. According to the ALA, the switch to electric vehicles, combined with an increase in renewable energy, could prevent over 6,300 premature deaths, 93,000 asthma attacks, and 416,000 lost work days by the year 2050. That equates to a $72 billion value in health benefits, and $113 billion in climate benefits.
Fossil Fuels & Public Health
Much of the purported benefits of a broad transition to electric vehicles stems from less pollution and improved air quality.
In New Jersey, vehicle emissions are the primary source of particle and ozone pollution. Combustion, or the burning of fossil fuels, releases microscopic materials that can become embedded in a person’s lungs and bloodstream. Nitrogen oxides and other contaminants released by vehicles also create smog that irritates and damages the respiratory system. According to researchers, environmental changes will likely cause smog to form more easily.
At a time when so many Americans have faced the respiratory consequences of COVID-19, the American Lung Association is calling attention to a problem that has far-reaching implications for both public health and the environment.
As the ALA notes, transitioning to zero-emission transportation solutions and increasing renewable energy sources could save thousands of lives and tens of billions of dollars in health costs, and drive significant reductions in greenhouse gasses that help reduce climate change impacts on air quality by the year 2050.
As a firm that represents victims, workers, and families in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases, including those involving workplace exposure and respiratory illnesses, Levinson Axelrod, P.A. supports the science behind solutions that make New Jersey and our nation safer. If you have questions about a potential injury case, we have multiple office locations across the state, and offer free consultations.