Thick smoke pours from the exhaust pile on a car. Shallow depth of field, focus on the end of the tail pipe. Closeup view.

We know that an electrification of the automotive sector promises to have a positive impact on our world — but exactly how much of an impact? A recent analysis by the American Lung Association set out to answer this question.

The report, titled Zeroing in on Healthy Air, highlighted “the public health damage caused by the world’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels, and provides a glimpse into a greener, healthier future – should political leaders decide to act.” The calculations were based on transitioning to 100 per cent electric car sales by 2035, and 100 per cent electric trucks by 2040, while also abandoning “dirty fossil fuels” altogether for renewable alternatives, such as solar, wind, hydroelectric and nuclear by 2035.

According to its findings, a swift nationwide transition to EVs would save more than 100,000 American lives — a staggering number by any measure. Not only that, but it could reportedly save US$1.2 trillion in public health costs, result in 2.8 million fewer asthma attacks and avoid 13.4 million sick days by 2050.

Read more: Report: EVs cheaper than ICE over their lifetimes

From a greenhouse gas perspective, the shift would lead to a 92 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050, simultaneously generating US$1.7 trillion in climate benefits by “protecting ecosystems, agriculture, infrastructure from rising sea levels and catastrophic weather events including drought and floods.”

“The current rising gas and energy prices are a symptom of our addiction to fossil fuels. But outside the economic pain, there’s significant public health pain caused by our addiction to fossil fuels. Transitioning to zero-emission technologies and energy depends on strong political leadership and investments, in order to get the potential health benefits off the page and into the real world,” said Will Barrett, author of the report.

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