Study: How EVs Perpetuate the Harms of Car Culture

While they emit less pollution, electric cars don’t solve many urgent issues like sprawl and fine particulate pollution.

1 minute read

March 12, 2024, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


A new analysis shows that even worldwide adoption of electric vehicles to replace gas-powered cars would not solve some major problems caused by auto-oriented infrastructure.

Writing in Bloomberg CityLab, Eric Roston explains that researchers surveyed roughly 400 papers to understand how the “substantial, ongoing investment” in physical and economic infrastructure that prioritizes cars harms public health and exacerbates climate change. “A comprehensive review published last month provides a litany of what the authors call ‘car harm,’ in estimated global totals of death, injury, disease and other miseries, over the course of automotive history.”

Meanwhile, electric cars don’t change underlying development patterns or how much space is allocated to cars. “Swapping engines for batteries isn’t changing how much cities pave themselves to accommodate cars, and or how cars kill people, the authors write. Although their tailpipes don’t spew carbon monoxide, they are often heavier than their internal-combustion counterparts, which means more fine-particle pollution from tires on highways.”

Thursday, March 7, 2024 in Bloomberg CityLab

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