Report: 4,000 deaths can be avoided if NJ switches fully to electric vehicles
What would happen if New Jersey were to transition completely to zero-emission vehicles over the next 15 to 20 years?
A report released Wednesday by the American Lung Association puts that hypothetical situation to the test in order to gauge the potential impact on a state-by-state basis.
In New Jersey, the impact on air quality and the health of New Jersey residents would be dramatic compared to many other states, the report finds.
The report, Zeroing in on Healthy Air, illustrates the benefits if all new passenger vehicles sold are electric by 2035, and all new trucks and buses sold are electric by the year 2040.
According to the report, New Jersey would realize $43.6 billion in public health benefits by 2050.
"We would avoid up to 3,960 deaths, over 90,000 asthma attacks, and we would avoid up to 464,000 lost workdays," said Michael Seilback, American Lung Association's national assistant vice president for state policy.
Parts of New Jersey are included in two metropolitan areas that are ranked near the top of the report's list of regions that would benefit most from the transition to zero-emission electric vehicles. The New York-Newark area ranks No. 2, and the Philadelphia-Reading-Camden region ranks No. 5.
"What we see in New Jersey ... is there are a lot of people that live near highways," Seilback said. "Removing those major sources of pollution that are polluting those communities is where we're going to see the biggest impact."
Gov. Phil Murphy's goal for New Jersey is 100% reliance on clean energy by 2050. Since 2020, the Garden State has been offering tens of millions of dollars in incentives to New Jersey motorists choosing to purchase an electric vehicle, and demand has been significant.