Report: Zero-emission vehicles can save lives, improve public health

A nationwide transition to clean, zero-emission vehicles would have a dramatic impact on the air quality and health of Washington residents, according to a new report by the American Lung Association.

The association (ALA) said its “Zeroing in on Healthy Air” report, released March 30, reveals that a widespread transition to vehicles powered by clean electricity  would result in up to 531 avoided deaths and $5.9 billion in public health benefits in Washington.

The report (available online at illustrates the potential health and climate benefits if all new passenger vehicles sold are zero-emission by 2035 and all newly sold trucks and buses are zero-emission by 2040. ALA projects that the nation’s electric grid will be powered by clean, non-combustion electricity replacing dirty fossil fuels by 2035.

Nationally, a widespread transition to electric vehicles would generate more than $1.2 trillion in health benefits and $1.7 trillion in additional climate benefits by 2050. In Washington, the transition would generate $5.9 billion in public health benefits and result in up to:

  • 531 avoided deaths.
  • 15,000 avoided asthma attacks.
  • 73,200 avoided lost workdays.

“The transportation sector is a leading contributor to air pollution and climate change,” said Carrie Nyssen, senior director of advocacy for American Lung Association in Washington. “Thankfully, the technologies and systems are in place to make these benefits a reality, especially in communities most impacted by harmful pollution today. We need our state leaders to act to implement equitable policies and invest in the transition to healthy air today. This is an urgent health issue for millions of people in the U.S.”