Electric vehicles are widely promoted as a climate solution. But they can also be a public health solution because, unlike gas-powered cars, electric vehicles do not emit harmful tailpipe pollution.
Erika Garcia of the University of Southern California was part of a team that studied the health benefits of transitioning to electric vehicles.
The researchers looked at the rate of electric vehicle adoption across California by ZIP code and compared that to hospital records.
“We found that within ZIP codes, over time, greater increases in the number of zero-emission vehicles was associated with lower rates of asthma emergency department visits,” she says.
Garcia’s colleague and co-author, Sandy Eckel, says the impact was noticeable even though during the study period there were not many EVs on the road. Californians were just starting to make the switch.
“We’re still quite early in the transition, and we only use data in our analyses from 2013 to 2019 because we wanted to avoid the pandemic years,” Eckel says. “And so we were surprised that we were able to … actually start to link it with these health and potentially air pollution co-benefits.”
So the results add evidence that going electric not only benefits the climate. It can also help improve people’s health.
Reporting credit: Ethan Freedman/ChavoBart Digital Media