Researchers from the University of Southern California have found that for every 2% increase in zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) adoption in a specific zip code in California, asthma-related emergency visits drop by 3%.
The study has also revealed that more electric vehicles lead to a small reduction in nitrogen dioxide levels.
On average across zip codes in the state of California, ZEVs increased from 1.4 to 14.6 per 1,000 people between 2013 and 2019.
The USC research shows that ZEV adoption was significantly lower in zip codes with lower levels of educational attainment.
For example, a zip code with 17% of the population having a bachelor’s degree had, on average, an annual increase of 0.70 ZEVs per 1,000 people compared to an annual increase of 3.6 ZEVs per 1,000 people for a zip code with 47% of the population having a bachelor’s degree.
Erika Garcia, an Assistant Professor, said: “When we think about the actions related to climate change, often it’s on a global level.
“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.”