53,000 early deaths are attributed to exhaust from cars and trucks, annually.

And now for some not-so-uplifting news for your Labor Day weekend, especially if it involves a long road trip. Emissions from electric-power generation, industrial operations, commercial and residential sources and transportation (road, marine and rail) sources cause about 200,000 premature deaths in the US each year, Green Car Congress says, citing a study from MIT's Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment. The key point for us in the automotive world: road transportation alone accounts for "53,000 early deaths per year attributed to exhaust from the tailpipes of cars and trucks." EV advocates shouldn't gloat too much, as early deaths from electricity generation came in at 52,000, mostly in the Midwest where coal is still the main source of juice. The data MIT used came from the Environmental Protection Agency's National Emissions Inventory from 2005, the most recent available.

MIT somehow calculates that pollution-related deaths essentially occur about a decade before that person would've otherwise passed away. As far as geography is concerned, California alone accounts for about 21,000 of those 200,000 premature deaths, and fans of The Wire might be interested to know that Baltimore is the US city with the highest number of emissions-related deaths per capita. Amid all this negativity, there is some good news. Pollution-related deaths from rail operations were "relatively slight." So we have that going for us.


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  • 223 Comments
      RC
      • 1 Year Ago
      And there it is, the real cost of gas. Yet people whine at the pump, sad.
      Paul M
      • 1 Year Ago
      And what about cars SAVING lives? What if we had no ambulances, fire trucks, police cars? What if people had no means of fleeing from hurricanes or tornadoes? What if we didn't have an efficient way of transporting people and supplies to those in need? Sure, emissions kill people. But on balance, I think the automobile is still pretty darn great.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Paul M
        Do you people not understand anything about how studies are conducted? This study is looking at the effects of air pollution, not conducting some sort of social critique about what would happen if we were all reliant on horses and carts. In any case the notion that we must inevitably have the same level of air pollution as we currently do if we are to benefit from an industrial society is almost as daft as the incomprehension about how scientists work. We now produce power and run transport with vastly less emissions than, say, in the 50's and 60's. We can and should continue to make progress, and this study outlines both where we are at the moment and where efforts to improve that may bear most fruit.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Month Ago
          @DaveMart
          @ DaveMart Well said !
          lasertekk
          • 1 Month Ago
          @DaveMart
          Nicely said, but remember the average intellects of some of the anti-science Neanderthals around here.
      Ducman69
      • 1 Year Ago
      American policy is bound by our national boarders. If a woman in Mexico wants to have six children, that's her right, and Americans should have no say in that. But we can and should tell her six children that they aren't welcome in our borders and tell our men and women that they can have one child tax free, and the rest get taxed just like in China, and distribute free birth control within our own borders. You can only fix your own house, not the world, but that's fine and pollution and overpopulation are somewhat localized phenomenon. California's smog doesn't affect San Antonio.
      Scr
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Jonathan Levy, a professor of environmental health at Boston University" is all you need to read into this before you can laugh it off.
      knightrider_6
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is not real science. The only real science I know is whatever crap some a-hole wrote in Bible 2000 years ago. Here are some true scientific "facts": - Earth is flat - It was created 6000 years ago - Sun goes around the earth - God put us on earth to rule - God gave us the right to discriminate based on skin color, gender, orientation - Toxins from vehicles and coal powered plants don't kill people. Neither do guns. If you don't believe these "facts" you are a closed minded liberal. /s
      zach
      • 1 Year Ago
      I stumbled onto the Al Gore/Nazi page, it's still man made global warming, right? and the earth is not cooling, right?
        knightrider_6
        • 1 Month Ago
        @zach
        You are absolutely right. The Nazis used vehicle emissions to mass murder people. They used to gather people in airtight rooms and hook up the exhaust of their trucks to vent into those rooms.
      De Cent
      • 1 Year Ago
      Not enough I'm afraid. Roads are still congested.
      nsxrules
      • 1 Year Ago
      Chris, it's political and lacks quantifiable evidence
      Max
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've often wondered how much life I'm subtracting from my expectancy for driving a diesel. I smell the distinct exhaust when the car is warming up, when the windows are down, and occasionally through the HVAC. I have a catalytic converter (though it's probably clogged after 13 years and 260K miles), but I do not have a particulate filter. I have a feeling my wife's Rx400h might be a healthier choice, but the TDI is much more fun to drive.
      Mami
      • 1 Year Ago
      There are some nut job deniers around here this evening.
        edward.stallings
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mami
        Before you call names, try calculating the heat input into our atmosphere from our human caloric input, and compare with the results from CO2 infrared absorption. If you don't know how to do those calculations, then it just might be that you are ignorant and you are the real nut.
          EZEE
          • 1 Month Ago
          @edward.stallings
          @ed... This is their religion. They take this stuff as an article of faith, while calling it 'science.' To speak out is heresy (as you have no doubt learned). One cannot criticize the saints (St. Gore, St. Hanson), and the mindless followers parrot what they hear. Then when the findings are scientifically proved to be off by 300%, they still feel smug in their beliefs, because ....well they are mindless. We have a 10 year global warming pause now going into 20...something no one predicted....and....if you say anything against the,, YOU are the nut. Not a single person commenting has the mental acuity to comprehend the larger climate. No one here is even close. They program this stuff not super computers, and them those super computers get it wrong.
          lasertekk
          • 1 Month Ago
          @edward.stallings
          @ Edward . No thanks, did plenty of caloric labs in thermo. Very boring. Couldn't wait to move on to modern physics. @ ezee. Science is NOT a religion. We are here for the betterment of humanity. Nothing more. Politically, and ideologically, the anti-science crowd WILL BE what drags down this country in the near future.
          clquake
          • 1 Month Ago
          @edward.stallings
          "Not a single person commenting has the mental acuity to comprehend the larger climate. No one here is even close. They program this stuff not super computers, and them those super computers get it wrong." I'm pretty sure you're right. There probably isn't anyone here at Autoblog is working at MIT. And they probably get the grammar right.
      Ducman69
      • 1 Year Ago
      What they should really calculate is how each newborn baby reduces the life expectancy and quality of life of the public, but that's too politically incorrect to address. Americans are driving MUCH less than they have in the past, with vehicles that have never before been so efficient, but the problem is that there are so many more vehicles on the road because there are so many more babies born and immigrants migrating than there are people dying every year. The best thing we could do for the environment is to close the borders and institute a one-child policy like China until the population has been reduced to a more environmentally friendly size. And I'd recommend keeping population density high while setting aside more land as parks and reserves.
        j
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Ducman69
        Ummm, actually Ducman69 I've read several reports that claim gasoline use peaked in the US in 2005. So I wonder, could immigration policy and the presence of new born babies...actually create the conditions that reduce domestic gas use and produce cleaner air. Hmmm? Or maybe I'm just confusing proximity and correlation with causality. Or maybe I'm just biased. Could it be because I love children and Latin Americans so much that I just assumed causality with respect to lower gasoline use plus cleaner air?
          j
          • 1 Month Ago
          @j
          "You can only fix your own house, not the world, but that's fine and pollution and overpopulation are somewhat localized phenomenon. California's smog doesn't affect San Antonio." Ummm, not exactly. Analysis of Los Angeles smog reveals reveals not only particles from oceangoing cargo ships, but from China as well. https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/5615-US-cities-suffer-impact-of-downwind-Chinese-air-pollution
        rjbx
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Ducman69
        Damn! The world just became a dumber place, just because of your post... Keep blaming the immigrants for everything, you bigoted bastard.
        RC
        • 1 Month Ago
        @Ducman69
        You do have a point, population growth is a challenge, but it doesn't matter whether it happens within our borders or not. It is not as if pollution is bound by boundaries.
      George Krpan
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wondered if they've ever tried to estimate the deaths from obesity and diabetes from driving everywhere and never walking or riding a bike.
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