19 June 2024
Electric vehicles improve air quality for everyone but have less impact in more polluted areas

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Despite higher ownership in affluent areas, a groundbreaking UCLA study shows that electric vehicles have a positive impact on air quality across all communities, debunking the notion that disadvantaged neighborhoods reap fewer benefits.

Electric vehicles (EVs) have been gaining popularity in wealthier neighborhoods, but a recent study from UCLA shows that they can improve air quality in all communities. However, there is a catch. While EVs do reduce pollution, the traffic corridors that run through disadvantaged areas still contribute to heavy pollution from gas-powered vehicles.

 

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The study found that disadvantaged communities experienced 40% more pollution reduction due to widespread EV travel. However, this percentage is based on a smaller number, as these communities have lower rates of EV ownership. In addition, low-income neighborhoods still face higher pollution levels compared to other communities because of the higher volume of all vehicle trips in their vicinity.

 

To address this issue, the study suggests implementing policies that offer more financial incentives for lower-income households to purchase zero-emission and electric vehicles. This includes battery-electric, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. The researchers also recommend transitioning medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, such as shipping and delivery trucks, to zero-emission vehicles, as they emit more pollution than smaller vehicles.

 

The study emphasizes the need for a transition to be equitable and healthy for all communities. This means encouraging EV adoption across the board, cleaning up the heavy fleet, addressing brake and tire wear particles, and including disadvantaged communities in discussions about the transition.

 

The findings of this study have contributed to the LA100 Equity Strategies report, which outlines equitable pathways for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2035. The study also aligns with a long-term project aimed at increasing electric vehicle adoption in disadvantaged communities.

 

To conduct the research, the team created a mobility simulation of Los Angeles County’s 10 million people. They combined information from census data on demographics, housing types, and commutes with local traffic models and new survey data on vehicle use. This simulation projected how EV adoption would impact air quality and equity in 2035, when all new passenger vehicles in California will be required to be zero-emission.

 

The study highlights the disparities in EV ownership among nonwhite populations and disadvantaged neighborhoods compared to more affluent, white communities. It is crucial to understand the barriers to EV adoption in disadvantaged communities and find ways to address them. The researchers are engaging with community-based organizations to gain insights into these barriers and involve the communities in decision-making processes.

 

Overall, this study emphasizes the importance of making EVs accessible to all communities and reducing pollution from all types of vehicles. By implementing equitable policies and involving disadvantaged communities in the transition, we can work towards improving air quality for everyone.

SOURCE: Electric vehicles improve air quality for everyone but have less impact in more polluted areas, study finds

https://phys.org/news/2023-12-electric-vehicles-air-quality-impact.html

FAQ’s

Question:

What are the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) in improving air quality?

Answer:

EVs can reduce pollution and improve air quality in all communities.

Question:

Do disadvantaged communities experience the same level of pollution reduction from EVs as wealthier neighborhoods?

Answer:

No, disadvantaged communities experience 40% more pollution reduction from widespread EV travel, but this percentage is based on a smaller number due to lower rates of EV ownership.

Question:

Why do low-income neighborhoods still face higher pollution levels even with EVs?

Answer:

Low-income neighborhoods have higher pollution levels because of the higher volume of all vehicle trips in their vicinity, including gas-powered vehicles.

Question:

What policies are suggested to address the issue of pollution in disadvantaged communities?

Answer:

Policies that offer more financial incentives for lower-income households to purchase zero-emission and electric vehicles, as well as transitioning medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to zero-emission vehicles.

Question:

How can the transition to EVs be made equitable for all communities?

Answer:

By encouraging EV adoption across the board, cleaning up the heavy fleet, addressing brake and tire wear particles, and involving disadvantaged communities in discussions about the transition.



Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Electric vehicles, Air quality, Los Angeles County

Electric vehicle
An electric vehicle (EV) is a vehicle that uses one or more electric motors for propulsion. It can be powered by a collector system, with electricity from extravehicular sources, or it can be powered autonomously by a battery or by converting fuel to electricity using a generator or fuel cells....
Read more: Electric vehicle

Air pollution
Air pollution is the contamination of air due to the presence of substances called pollutants in the atmosphere that are harmful to the health of humans and other living beings, or cause damage to the climate or to materials. It is also the contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment...
Read more: Air pollution

Los Angeles County, California
Los Angeles County, officially the County of Los Angeles (Spanish: Condado de Los Ángeles), and sometimes abbreviated as L.A. County, is the most populous county in the United States, with 9,861,224 residents estimated in 2022. Its population is greater than that of 40 individual U.S. states. Comprising 88 incorporated cities...
Read more: Los Angeles County, California

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