Last updated on 29/07/2019
  • New report finds electric vehicles shave health costs per vehicle by $3,690
  • Calls for deaths due to vehicle emissions to be in included in NSW road toll

New research reveals that every time an electric vehicle replaces a traditional vehicle on NSW roads, health costs are reduced by $3,690 over a ten-year period.

The new report, ‘Cleaner and Safer Roads for NSW,’ finds emissions from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle in the Sydney-Newcastle-Wollongong area creates $3 billion in health costs every year. 52 per cent of that pollution comes from exhaust emissions, while the remainder comes from non-exhaust emissions such as tire and brake wear.

Electric vehicle

The report – co-authored by the Electric Vehicle Council and Asthma Australia, with assistance from Doctors for the Environment Australia – recommends including deaths due to vehicle emissions in the NSW road toll.

“We’ve seen a lot of graphic road safety campaigns, but the deadliest part of a vehicle is actually its exhaust pipe,” said Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari.

“There are many good reasons for New South Wales to get behind a rapid transition to electric vehicles, but the most underrated is our health and safety.

“Using mortality data from the Department of Environment and Conservation Vehicle, we can see vehicle emissions kill some 650 people in New South Wales each and every year. That’s 60 per cent more deaths than car crashes.

“These are not abstractions. They are very real costs that are felt in very real ways. We can pump better health and more money back into the state by phasing out exhaust pipes and phasing in zero-emission vehicles.”

Asthma Australia CEO Michele Goldman said curbing vehicle emissions would be a practical way to reduce asthma risk factors, especially among children..

“Vehicle pollution is particularly significant when it comes to children’s asthma. Kids living within 75 metres of a major road have a 29 per cent increased risk of lifetime asthma,” Goldman said. We often see schools built on main roads to increase accessibility, increasing exposure to asthma risk factors.“People with asthma suffer from air pollution more than others because their airways are particularly sensitive. Indeed, anyone with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, lung disease, or cardiovascular disease is more susceptible. Such people have more frequent and more serious symptoms when exposed to air pollution.”

The report also notes noise pollution from road traffic is estimated to cause $1.4 billion in social costs per year in NSW, a cost that would be greatly mitigated by quiet electric vehicles.