October 28, 2016

TAX THE EXTERNALITIES:

It's Not Just Clean Air: Electric Cars Can Save the US Billions (AARIAN MARSHALL, 10.27.16, wired)

IT'S HARD TO get a handle on the ugly, smoggy implications of this nation's dependence on fossil fuel-burning cars. Deaths from pollution and climate change tend to pile up slowly, in asthma attacks, flood fatalities, and respiratory illnesses. But you, me, the kids, the politicians--everyone is suffering the effects of passenger car-related pollution.

According to a new report from the American Lung Association of California, cars are responsible for $37 billion in health and climate costs each year.

That's just for California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont--the 10 states that have zero emission vehicle sales programs. The price tag includes the economic costs of 220,000 days of missed work, 109,000 asthma-related attacks, and 2,580 premature deaths per annum.

Even if you don't have asthma, you're getting hit: The report estimates that every tank of gasoline you combust adds $18.42 to public health and climate bills--bills your taxes pay off.

Fortunately, the policy/lung specialists can imagine a rosier future, if those states get even more into electricity. The report estimates that if, by 2050, EVs account for 100 percent of new sales and about 65 percent of cars on the road, health- and climate-related costs will drop by $21 billion, to $15.7 billion. If the states get real aggressive and move away from the current coal-tinged grid toward 100 percent renewable energy, those benefits could climb by 40 percent.

"I think people haven't been used to factoring health and climate into the daily choices they're making," says Bonnie Holmes-Gen, the American Lung Association of California's senior director of air quality and climate change. "We've quantified the hidden costs."


Posted by at October 28, 2016 6:57 PM

  

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