You know what’s exhausting? The smell of car exhaust on your commute to work.
Beyond being gross, breathing in these fumes is actually pretty bad for our lungs, causing and worsening asthma as well as other respiratory problems.
Luckily, transportation doesn’t have to pollute our air. An exciting new study from the University of Southern California found that having more electric vehicles (EVs) on the road means less air pollution.
Even better, the study found that having more EVs means fewer emergency room visits associated with asthma. Talk about a breath of fresh air.
Part of the reason this research is so important is because of the prevalence of asthma throughout the U.S. Car exhaust is a serious culprit in causing the condition, responsible for about four million cases of childhood asthma every single year.
The study found that it didn’t take that many more EVs on the road to seriously lower ER visits. Just having 20 extra electric cars for every 1,000 residents was associated with more than a 3% drop in asthma-related ER visits.
Because it doesn’t take a huge number of vehicle swaps to make a difference in air quality, there’s a huge potential for improving our air, especially as EVs quickly gain popularity and become cheaper.
But the study wasn’t all about good news. Researchers also found that the adoption of these EVs was unsurprisingly lower in lower-income communities, which tend to have worse air pollution as well as less EV charging infrastructure.
Despite this finding, the exciting research could promote local action to reduce asthma and produce better air quality. The lead author of the study, Dr. Erika Garcia explains in the paper how her findings may spur action to clean up the air.
“When we think about the actions related to climate change, often it’s on a global level,” Dr. Garcia said in a press release. “But the idea that changes being made at the local level can improve the health of your own community could be a powerful message to the public and to policymakers.”
Clearly, there are actionable ways for communities to fight air pollution and protect their children’s lungs and futures at the same time. The trend of having more EVs on the roads can seriously help communities reduce asthma.