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The impact of vehicle and fuel standards on premature mortality and emissions

Without new actions to limit vehicle emissions, the health impacts from road transportation will increase significantly from present-day levels in many countries around the world. However, stringent limits on vehicle emissions can force the introduction of technologies that will cut emissions of local air pollutants by more than 99 percent over uncontrolled vehicles. This temporarily decouples conventional pollutant emissions from growing vehicle activity and dramatically reduces emissions that contribute to serious health problems.

This report, The impact of vehicle and fuel standards on premature mortality and emissions, provides an ambitious but pragmatic policy roadmap for tightening standards for trucks and buses, passenger vehicles, and fuels, enabling regions without a clear timeline for advanced standards to replicate the success of early policy adopters in improving air quality and public health. The tools and analyses used in this study provide an integrated framework for rapid policy assessment that can be especially useful in developing regions where technical capacity and data are limited and where action is most urgently needed.

This report comes at a critical time for policymakers. Exposure to outdoor air pollution is a leading cause of premature mortality, associated with 3.2 million early deaths globally in 2010. Vehicles are a major contributor to outdoor air pollution, especially in urban areas where the world’s population is projected to grow most rapidly. While this analysis is not intended to capture the full burden of the health impacts from the transportation sector, it does demonstrate the incredible potential to reduce these burdens in every region of the world. In countries that have introduced much cleaner vehicles, premature deaths from vehicle particulate emissions continue to decline, while countries lacking the most stringent controls face increasing health problems. Proactive policies will make the difference between worsening (Baseline scenario) or improving (Accelerated scenario) trends in public health.

Download the report here: The impact of vehicle and fuel standards on premature mortality and emissions