Thousands of Virginians would live longer lives if the nation made the switch to electric vehicles, according to a new report from the American Lung Association. That’s on top of $29.7 billion in state-wide public health benefits that the respiratory health nonprofit says Virginians would reap.
Specifically, the nonprofit predicts that up to 2,700 people would avoid dying prematurely due to transportation-related emissions polluting the air they breathe. Additionally, the report added that reduced transportation emissions brought about by a wide scale adoption of electric vehicles would mean Virginians wouldn’t deal with almost 71,000 avoidable asthma attacks or 350,000 missed work days.
Across the country, the nonprofit estimated that 110,000 lives could be extended without the air pollution inherent in driving combustion engine vehicles. That would be in addition to over $1 trillion in public health benefits and millions of avoided asthma attacks nationwide.
“Transportation is a leading source of air and climate pollutants that threaten health,” the association’s report stated. “The transition to zero-emission vehicles powered by zero-emission electricity would benefit residents across the United States, and especially those most burdened by power plants and transportation hubs like highways, ports and warehouses.”
The American Lung Association noted that Virginia adopted a zero-emissions vehicle standard and recently committed to a multi-state goal only selling zero-emission medium-to-heavy-duty vehicles by 2050.
Electric vehicles have gained popularity in recent years, but many Americans still want gasoline-powered models. In its 2022 Global Automotive Consumer Study, Deloitte, the international consulting firm, found that 69 percent of American respondents said they would opt for a gasoline- or diesel-fueled model for their next vehicle.
Only about 27 percent of respondents said they would select some type of electric vehicle. (Survey takers were asked about their preference between September and October 2021).
Virginia residents themselves do have access to state-specific financial incentives to fund electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Dominion’s residential customers in Virginia can receive a $125 rebate if they purchase certain chargers and sign up for the utility’s demand response program. Multi-family buildings and commercial customers are among those who are eligible for thousands of dollars worth of rebates for specific types of charging stations, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Over 800 public charging stations are sited throughout Virginia, according to the utility, with a large cluster around Northern Virginia and additional chargers available in Washington, DC, and Maryland. Dominion offers a public charging station map here, while the Alternative Fuels Data Center hosts a charging map that shows public stations throughout the U.S. and Canada here.
However, a recent article in The Virginia Mercury signals that rebates for residents’ electric vehicles themselves is unlikely. Although the Virginia legislature created an electric vehicle rebate program in 2021, no money was actually provided at the time to execute the plan. And neither legislative chamber has included related funding in their proposed budgets for the next two years, the Mercury reports.
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