Preserving the Environment

Driving an E-Car: Not Good Just for the Planet’s Health, but Your Health, Too

June 3, 2014
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Driving an E-Car: Not Good Just for the Planet’s Health, but Your Health, Too
The Nissan Leaf is among the electric cars with prices lower than the average new car. Scott Olson/Getty Images
Getting off petroleum is good news for your lungs.

If you want to improve your health, perhaps you should seriously think about investing in an electric car.

Sure, that might seem a bit extreme, but did you know that half of the toxic pollutants in the air are caused by petroleum-chugging motor vehicles?

We all know that electric cars are much better for the environment, and now we’re learning that they provide incredible public health benefits as well.

The Atlantic published findings from a recent report by the Environmental Defense Fund and the California chapter of the American Lung Association that analyzed California’s ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report found that California’s cap-and-trade program (which has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to levels of what they were back in 1990) and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) that requires petroleum-based fuels to reduce the carbon intensity by 10 percent by 2020 has already shown remarkable progress.

MORE: Why New Farm and Construction Equipment Will Improve Air Quality and Save Lives

“By 2025, the health benefits of the LCFS and [cap-and-trade] will save $8.3 billion in pollution-related health costs such as avoided hospital visits and lost work days,” the report said. “In addition, these policies will prevent 38,000 asthma attacks as well as 600 heart attacks, 880 premature deaths, and almost 75,000 lost work days — all caused by air pollution.”

Simply put: Electric cars = less air pollution = happy lungs = longer lives. Now, just imagine how the whole country would benefit if more people drove plug-ins.

ALSO: What the Demise of Car Ownership Means for the Planet 

If you believe that you can’t afford a plug-in, think again. The heavy price tag of e-cars is actually a popular misconception. CleanTechnica does a good job of debunking that myth, listing several electric cars that actually cost less than the average new car, including the Nissan Leaf, Fiat 500e, and Ford Focus Electric.

With climate change showing no signs of abating, going electric sounds like something that physicians should start prescribing alongside healthy eating and exercise.

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