Detroit could save lives, avoid billions in state health impacts with transition to electric transportation

DETROIT – The American Lung Association released “The Road to Clean Air” – a new report which outlines the broad benefits of a transition to an electric transportation sector increasingly powered by clean, non-combustion renewable energy over the coming decades. The report finds a transition to electric cars, buses and trucks by mid-century would both improve air quality and address climate change, benefiting the lives and health of Americans and Detroit residents, and would result in significant local benefits.

In the report, Detroit was listed as one of the top 15 metro areas that would see the greatest benefit from a transition to electric vehicles. “The Road to Clean Air” outlines the broad benefits of the transition to an electric transportation sector over the coming decades.

Benefits in Detroit per year based on emission reductions in 2050:

  • avoiding approximately 100 premature deaths
  • preventing more than 1,220 asthma attacks
  • preventing 5,625 lost workdays per year
  • $1.1 billion in public health benefits

National benefits per year based on emission reductions in 2050:

  • avoiding approximately 6,300 premature deaths
  • preventing more than 93,000 asthma attacks
  • preventing 416,000 lost workdays
  • $72 Billion in public health benefits
  • $113 Billion in climate impacts avoided

“The transportation sector is a leading contributor to air pollution and climate change,” said Ken Fletcher, director of advocacy, American Lung Association. “We have the technology to transition to cleaner cars, trucks and buses, and by taking that step we can prepare Detroit for the future while also seeing the health and economic benefits forecasted in ‘The Road to Clean Air’. Especially as our state faces the impacts of climate change such as extreme storms and wildfires, this is a powerful and practical opportunity to take action to improve our air, our health and our future.”

Climate change threatens the health of all Americans, from wildfires and extreme storms to worsening air pollution. And poor air quality caused by transportation pollution contributes to a wide range of negative health impacts, including childhood asthma attacks, impaired lung function and development, lung cancer, heart attacks and strokes and premature deaths. As shown in the Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report, nearly half of all Americans are living with unhealthy air quality, and low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by bad air quality.

Achieving these major benefits to our health and our climate will require dedicated and sustained leadership and investment at all levels of government and will require public education and engagement to ensure the transition to electric vehicles provides clean air for all. The Lung Association is encouraging all Detroit residents to sign a petition to Governor Gretchen Whitmer urging support for the critical transition to electric vehicles.

For more information about “The Road to Clean Air” report visit Journalists seeking to speak with a policy or medical expert about the benefits of a transition to electric vehicles and the health impacts of air pollution or climate change may contact James Martinez at or 312-445-2501.


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: