BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — You’ve heard about the promise of electric vehicles as a way of transitioning away from fossil fuels, as a way to control air pollution, as a way to apply the brakes to climate change. Well, courtesy of the American Lung Association, here’s another one – EVs can save lives.

The Lung Association’s new report, Zeroing in on Healthy Air, finds widespread public health benefits are possible through the transition to zero-emission transportation. 

The report says the transition could yield more than $1.2 trillion in avoided health costs and $1.7 trillion in avoided climate change impacts between 2020 and 2050. 

For California the transition could mean $169 billion in public health benefits. It could save 15,300 lives, prevent  440,000 asthma attacks, and avoid 2.2 million lost work days over the course of that 30-year period.

The report does not break down the economic and health benefits of a wholesale transition to EVs by county, but the fact that Kern County has some of the worst air quality scores in the nation for ozone, 24-hour particulate matter pollution and annual particulate pollution suggests especially meaningful results.

In a county where 10 percent of residents – nearly 90,000 of our 900,000 – have asthma, a wholesale switch to EVs seems likely to make a difference.