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American Lung Association report says zero emission vehicles will save lives and money in Delaware

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

An American Lung Association report details the potential lives and dollars saved if all vehicles sold have zero emissions over time.

The report titled “Zeroing in on Healthy Air” says air pollution is a major threat to Americans health and that 4 in 10 of all Americans, roughly 135 million people, live in a community impacted by unhealthy levels of air pollution.

The American Lung Association’s Deb Brown says a switch to zero emission vehicles would help reduce pollution.

"If all of the new passenger vehicles sold are zero emission by 2035 and then all the new heavy duty vehicles such as trucks and buses sold or zero emission by 2040, and then we look at the nation's electric grid and make sure that that's powered by clean non-combustion renewable energy like wind and solar we know that there will be numerous individuals that will breathe easier as a result," said Brown.

Brown notes in Delaware alone the transition would generate $5.1 billion in public health benefits, and she says there would be other benefits.

"We would have 462 avoided deaths, 11,200 avoided asthma attacks, and 55,100 avoided lost (work) days," said Brown.

Also, if that transition to zero emission vehicles is made, the Philadelphia Metro area - which includes New Castle and Kent Counties - would rank in the top 5 of top 25 metro areas benefiting the most from the transition.

The American Lung Association says dedicated and sustained leadership is needed to achieve these benefits with investment at all levels of government.

The report also states the adverse impacts of pollution from vehicles and electricity generation are a threat to local community health, health equity and a driver of climate change-related health risks.

More on the report including a petition for a more rapid transition to zero emission vehicles and energy can be found at the American Lung Association’s website.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.