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Switching to Electric Vehicles Could Save Lives and Lower Houston Healthcare Costs, Report Says

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Houston in 2050 could save 148 lives, prevent 3,333 asthma attacks and cut health costs by $ 1.7 billion per year by electrifying its entire transportation system, according to a report released Tuesday by the American Lung Association.

The analysis, which concluded that 582 lives could be saved each year in Texas, builds on other reports that one of the most aggressive steps the country can take to improve air quality is to change what’s under the hood of American cars and trucks.

“We simply cannot guarantee air quality for all Americans without transportation,” said William Barrett, senior author of “The road to clean airAnd director of clean air promotion for the American Lung Association.

Based on various criteria compared by the Lung Association researchers – such as total miles driven, population, and how electrical power is produced for the region – Houston ranks eighth in the country among metropolitan areas that could benefit from electric vehicles. Dallas ranks fifth, behind Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago.

The researchers based their estimates on the full electrification of all private automobiles by 2040 and all heavy trucks by 2045, and then using the air quality estimates from 2050 as a metric.

Impacts of EVs

According to a new analysis from the American Lung Association, a complete switch to electric vehicles would result in:

Houston

148 lives saved

3 333 asthma attacks avoided

1.7 USD billion health benefits

Texas

582 lives saved

11 554 asthma attacks avoided

$ 6.7 billion health benefits

United States

6,293 lives saved

93 337 asthma attacks avoided

$ 72.1 billion health benefits

Source: American Lung Association

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The report aligns with other studies on the effects of electric vehicle use. A report released last year by a team including researchers at the University of Houston found that a complete conversion to electric vehicles could prevent the deaths of up to 240 people per year and eliminate up to 5,500 days of missed school for children with asthma and other respiratory problems in Houston.

Proponents of electric vehicle use in the region estimate that there are around 12,000 electric vehicles in the Houston area today – out of nearly 5.6 million vehicles registered in the Eight County area, which means the region has a long way to go to see any of the benefits. described in the report.

A shift to electric vehicles shouldn’t make Houstonians who depend on the petrochemical industry nervous, said Deborah Gordon, senior researcher at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. Houston, a hub for the petrochemical industry, also has an opportunity and should view electric cars as a chance to innovate rather than a threat, Gordon said.

“First, nothing happens overnight,” Gordon said, stressing that gasoline will remain in demand even if change occurs.

As gasoline goes down, Gordon predicts that the petrochemical industry, which is much more important than the fuel people put in their cars, will change.

“We are not talking about refining, but remelting refining,” she said, noting that new petroleum-based products could help fight pollution.

“You don’t just have to burn it,” Gordon said.

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Not burning gasoline to get around could improve the quality of life for those with serious health problems, researchers said.

Dr Karen Jakpor, a doctor who lives in Southern California and spoke with Lung Association officials during a discussion of the report’s findings on Monday, has serious health concerns related to the asthma.

“My friends often call me a barometer or a canary in the coal mine,” Jakpor said, noting how she constantly checks the air quality information for the Riverside, Calif. Area. “It determines if I can go out or not.”

In Houston and elsewhere, the health effects of air pollution are particularly damaging in minority and low-income communities. A 2017 study by the Houston Department of Health and Rice University found that children living in areas with higher transportation emissions experienced more asthma attacks requiring an ambulance.

“We need to target solutions so that all communities and all people benefit,” Barrett said.

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To achieve the results estimated in the report, the Lung Association researchers said federal, state and local authorities must work collaboratively, to address challenges at every level of government. Federal and state officials should set reasonable but aggressive emissions targets and leverage their economic strength through subsidies or tax incentives to spur change. At the local level, the researchers said, authorities should lead by example and commit to cleaner fleets.

Some local efforts are underway. Evolve Houston, a public-private effort to increase investment and the implementation of cleaner transportation options, includes gasoline makers including Shell, while BP worked with Houston elected officials on the plan to city ​​climate action.

Houston officials, in the plan released in April, pledged to convert all non-emergency municipal vehicles by 2030 to electric or low-emission alternatives, while providing incentives for private companies to upgrade. ‘electricity.

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