In the first study to use real-world data to link electric cars, air pollution and health, researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC have begun to document the impact of electric vehicle (ZEV) adoption. Leveraging publicly available datasets, the researchers analyzed a “natural experiment” occurring in California as residents in different zip codes transitioned to electric cars at different rates. The results were  published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

The scientists compared data on total ZEV registration, air pollution levels and asthma-related emergency room visits across the state between 2013 to 2019. The more widespread ZEV adoption increased within a given zip code, the more local air pollution levels and emergency room visits dropped. This data confirms the theory that increased transitioning from traditional gasoline-fueled cars to ZEVs would improve air quality and protect the health — and even the lives — of citizens in affected areas.

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