Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What are the Health Costs of Driving a Car in the US and Canada?

Source Attribution of Health Benefits from Air Pollution Abatement in Canada and the United States: An Adjoint Sensitivity Analysis(32 page pdf, Amanda Joy Pappin and Amir Hakami, Environmental Health Perspectives, Feb. 22, 2013)

Today we review research aimed at estimating the health benefits/disbenefits as a result of subtracting/adding vehicle emissions from the state of urban air pollution (specifically NO2 and O3) in cities in the USA and Canada. The cost ranges from $300 to $830 per vehicle per year. Part of the variability on cost is due to the interaction between NO2 and O3 and efforts to reduce one or the other pollutant in different cities with different policies, especially with regard to transportation emissions which is a major source. The highest costs/vehicle are in cities along the California coast, near Vancouver, in the Windsor-Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor and in Virginia and northeast of Texas

. aq health costs
(Estimated yearly benefits attributed to elimination of one average vehicle in a given location)  

Key Quotes:

“Significant day-to-day variability in our estimates suggests that targeted short-term measures guided by health benefit influences may complement long-term strategic planning for air quality improvement.”

 “If all NOx sources in the U.S. reduced emissions by 10%, Canada would experience an average estimated benefit of $3.8M/day .. Similarly, a 10% reduction in all Canadian NOx emissions would produce an average benefit of $4.0M/day on Canadian health.“

 “On specific days, cross-border transport of U.S. emissions may have a greater influence on Canadian mortality than domestic emissions “

“estimated urban benefits are substantial, with the largest Canadian influences in Montreal ($770/yr), Mississauga ($440/yr), and Vancouver ($450/yr). In the U.S., influences from the Pacific Ocean Highway in regions other than Los Angeles and the Bay Area are substantial, ranging between $300/yr and $830/yr.”

“we estimate health benefits of the subway system in Toronto to be approximately $130M/yr from reduced short-term O3 and NO2-related mortality only."

“In Ottawa, the study shows that a 10-per-cent reduction in emissions would save about $40,000 in health costs per day. That's about $16 million per year.”
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