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How EVs Improve Public Health

Posted 04/04/2024

Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) produce no tailpipe emissions, making them a clear environmental choice over internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. This significant benefit for the environment is truly remarkable. Additionally, we sought to examine the positive impact of electric vehicles (EVs) on human health, and unsurprisingly, the results are impressive. EVs offer a much healthier alternative to ICE vehicles. Now, let’s delve into the numbers to further illustrate these advantages.  

Lowering pollution levels 

While it’s true that greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental concerns arise from the sourcing, shipping, and manufacturing of EVs, as well as the charging process (depending on the electricity source), It's essential to note, as highlighted by the environmental advocacy organization, the David Suzuki Foundation:  

“... Unlike a gas-powered car, which pollutes all the way through to the end of its life, the average EV makes up for the higher environmental cost of its production within the first few years of ownership.” 

Also unlike ICE vehicles, the "well-to-wheel" emissions of the EV decrease as both vehicle manufacturers and power plants switch to cleaner forms of electricity.

The Environmental Defence and Ontario Public Health Association's report “Clearing the Air: How Electric Vehicles And Cleaner Trucks Can Reduce Pollution, Improve Health And Save Lives In The Greater Toronto And Hamilton Area" reveals alarming statistics. In the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), air pollution is responsible for over 3,000 premature deaths annually. This area is situated along one of North America’s busiest traffic corridors.  

The report highlights three main pollutants linked to conventional ICE vehicles:  

  • fine particulate matter (PM2.5),  

  • nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and  

  • ozone (O3).  

It emphasizes that the vehicle traffic is a significant contributor to air pollution, which has been associated with: 

  • lung cancer,  

  • respiratory conditions like asthma,  

  • allergies and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and  

  • cardiovascular conditions like angina, heart attack, hypertension and stroke.  

The effects of air pollution disproportionately affect various groups, including older adults, young children, individuals with pre-existing heart or lung conditions, those with diabetes, outdoor enthusiasts, and residents near industrial areas or busy traffic routes. This encompasses a significant portion of the population! 

Learn more about healthcare and EV charging.

Findings in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area

As quoted in Clearing the Air, research conducted by the University of Toronto’s Transportation and Air Quality Group indicates that transitioning light-duty vehicles and public transit to EVs could substantially decrease traffic-related air pollution, resulting in 313 fewer premature deaths annually in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA). Furthermore, the switch to electric commercial trucks could prevent an additional 275 fewer premature deaths each year.  

Transitioning to 100% light-duty EVs could yield annual social benefits of up to $2.4 billion. Electrifying all public transit buses could provide up to $1.1 billion per year, while shifting to more efficient commercial trucks could offer up to $2.1 billion annually.  

The research reveals that in a scenario where all cars and SUVs are replaced by a single EV, each replacement generates $9,850 in social benefits.  

Children’s health 

As mentioned earlier, children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution due to their developing respiratory systems and faster breathing rates compared to healthy adults. Additionally, they spend considerable time, up to two hours per day on most days, waiting near roads for school buses powered by internal combustion engines, and subsequently riding in these polluting buses. 

The American Lung Association recently released the report “Boosting Health for Children: Benefits of Zero-Emission Transportation and Electricity" in February 2024.

According to this report, achieving the following three targets in the U.S. would significantly improve children’s health: 

  • 100% zero-emission light-duty vehicle sales by 2035, 

  • 100% zero-emission commercial truck sales by 2040, and a 

  • 100% fossil-fuel free electricity grid by 2035, 

By 2050, this could prevent:  

  • 2.79 million children’s asthma attacks, 

  • 147,000 pediatric bronchitis cases, and  

  • over 500 infant deaths 

Learn more about electric school buses.

Environmental Justice 

It’s crucial to recognize that air pollution doesn’t just pose risks to specific groups like children, older adults, outdoor enthusiasts, and those with existing respiratory conditions—it affects all of us. However, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), certain communities are disproportionately impacted by air pollution, particularly low-income and communities of color.   

These communities are often more vulnerable due to their proximity to pollution sources such as factories, major roadways, and ports with diesel truck operations. Additionally, social and economic factors like poor nutrition and increased stress can further exacerbate their susceptibility to pollution.  

Transitioning towards reducing the effects of air pollution in these neighborhoods is vital, as it would address one of the primary sources of pollution: vehicle exhaust emissions.  

Supporting Public Health Through EV Charging 

Individuals can contribute to improving public health by opting for an EV as their next vehicle purchase. Fortunately, the federal government has streamlined the process for claiming both the new Clean Vehicle Credit and pre-owned Clean Vehicle Credit, offering tax credits of up to $7,500 and $4,000, respectively. These tax credits can now be applied at the point of sale when purchasing an EV from participating dealerships.  

Businesses can also play a vital role in supporting public health initiatives by integrating EVs into their fleets and installing electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) to expand the national EV charging network. Businesses located in low-income communities are particularly crucial, as rural and low-income urban centers often lack adequate EV chargers. Furthermore, qualifying businesses in these specific areas can take advantage of the federal Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit, which offers up to $100,000 (or $1,000 for individuals).  

Businesses should consider installing the type of charger that best fits their budget and other relevant factors. Both Level 2 (L2) chargers and Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFCs) are essential in facilitating the transition to EVs.  

To explore potential incentives available in your area, you can utilize tools like Blink Charging’s Commercial Incentives tool or Residential Incentives tool. These resources may highlight state and municipal government incentives, as well as incentives provided by electric utilities.  


Air pollution has long been recognized as a significant threat to human health, persisting for centuries. While government and industry regulations have made strides in mitigating its impact, it continues to affect populations worldwide. Fortunately, there’s a solution that every individual and business can contribute to: switching to EVs. If you’re committed to fostering a healthier world by embracing an all-electric future devoid of tailpipe emissions, reach out to Blink Charging today to play your part. Together, we can make a difference.  

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