Researchers at the University of Southern California’s Keck school of medicine used data available on a daily basis to demonstrate the positive effects of electric cars on air pollution and health. In 2021, electric car sales were double the sales in 2020, and the International Energy Agency highlighted the momentum of the electric mobility sector in its latest report. Keck University scientists investigated whether sustainable cars, whether battery electric, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell or hydrogen, have environmental and health benefits.
They cross-referenced available databases from electric car sales, emergency room visits for asthma-related symptoms and air quality monitoring. The researchers found that air pollution and emergency room visits decline as populations move to electric cars, and that the transition is much slower for low-income populations.
The value of this social class ranking could be to allow a rebalancing between populations to the benefit of those poorer and more affected by pollution and health problems. The results of the study give hope that the transition to zero-emission mobility could be a formidable measure to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Since the study was only conducted in California and focused only on nitrogen dioxide, it should be expanded geographically and to other pollutants so that the observations can be generalized. It could also be supplemented by considering the disposal of old electric cars and the consequences of extracting the materials used to build them.