March 3, 2023
Source: Kerk School of Medicine USC
Electric vehicles are widely hailed as a key way to mitigate climate change through reduced emissions, but research on the dual benefits of reduced air pollution and improved health has been largely hypothetical.
A team of researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC have now begun to document the actual impact of electric vehicle adoption in the first study to use real-world data to link electric cars, air pollution and health. Leveraging publicly available datasets, the researchers analyzed a “natural experiment” occurring in California as residents in the state rapidly transitioned to electric cars, or light-duty zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs). The results were just published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
The team compared data on total ZEV registration, air pollution levels and asthma-related emergency room visits across the state between 2013 to 2019. As ZEV adoption increased within a given zip code, local air pollution levels and emergency room visits dropped.