The study found that electric vehicles may save tens of billions of dollars annually for the United States

Date:Aug 18, 2020

The study found that electric vehicles may save tens of billions of dollars annually for the United States cnBeta.COM

According to foreign media new atlas, although the price of pure electric vehicles is usually higher, a new study applies a broader scope to the economics of green transportation and finds that it can actually save the United States tens of billions of dollars a year. The analysis combines climate models with fleet and public health data, revealing that electric vehicles can not only prevent many premature deaths, but also offset significant damage caused by climate change and air pollution to a certain extent.

Exhaust gases from internal combustion engines are an important factor in the air pollution that envelops many major cities around the world, causing millions of premature deaths each year - not just because of pollution coming out of the tailpipe. As far as diesel engines are concerned, nitrogen oxides emitted from fuel combustion will react with compounds in the atmosphere to form persistent pollution clouds, which can lead to long-term health problems such as stroke, heart disease and lung cancer. And recent research suggests that this may be a much bigger problem than we think.

"A good example is looking at nitrogen oxides (NOx), a group of chemicals produced by burning fossil fuels," said lead author Daniel Peters, climate change researcher at Northwestern University. "NOx itself is harmful to respiratory health, but when exposed to sunlight and volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere, it forms ozone and particulate matter. "

Using chemical climate models, the team was able to simulate how these pollutants interact with emissions from other sources, such as weather and power generation, and how they change according to the proportion of electric vehicles on the road. Then, combined with the public health data, the health impact of a series of different electric vehicle uses is determined.

As part of this, the team drew on the U.S. fleet and emissions data for 2014. In one scenario, in 2014, 25% of the internal combustion engine (ice) powered vehicles on the road were replaced by electric vehicles and recharged by the energy infrastructure of that year, which would prevent 250 million tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

To measure the overall cost of these measures, scientists assigned dollar values to the climate and public health damage that would be avoided by the level of absorption of the electric vehicle. These values are calculated using typical policy tools used to quantify the social cost of carbon, as well as a measure called statistical value of life.

"The social cost of carbon and the value of statistical life are indicators that have been studied and debated a lot," said Daniel Horton, senior author of the study. "But they are often used to make policy decisions. It helps to give tangible value to the consequences of largely invisible emissions into the public sphere, the atmosphere we share. "

With 25% of diesel vehicles replaced by electric vehicles, scientists calculated that this would save the United States about $17 billion a year. In another scenario, where 75% of ice cars are replaced, they calculate that these savings could increase to $70 billion a year, while avoiding hundreds of thousands of premature deaths.

"From an engineering and technical point of view, people have been developing solutions to climate change for years," added Daniel Horton of Northwestern University, senior author of the study. "But we need to critically evaluate these solutions. The study, which looked at electric vehicles and energy generation in detail, found that the adoption of electric vehicles could not only reduce greenhouse gases, but also save lives

The study was published in the Journal geohealth.

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