The switch from gasoline to electric is a great step towards improving environmental justice. The move helps advance justice and equity for vulnerable communities of color. We here review six areas of high importance in this regard.
First we refer to the impact of air pollution in the U.S. As low-income communities of color and indigenous people live very close to freeways, they are heavily affected by vehicle exhaust from automobile traffic. Black people constitute the great bulk of those living near highways and toxic oil and gas facilities. Just in southern California, 1.2 million people live next to highways.
Studies show that children living near heavily trafficked roads are more likely to suffer from health problems. Low birth weight and asthma are the most common. The studies add that adults are no exception. Higher rates of lung and heart disease are observed among the adults. Electric car adoption would greatly help improve air quality in cities, as they produce no CO2 emissions when driving.
CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATOR
Another health-related issue is the climate change crisis. Climate change in the U.S. has led to extreme weather conditions. Hazardous events like floods, wildfires, and drought aggravate social and economic inequalities further. The poor and low-income communities are hit the hardest. Transition to electric vehicles results in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, thus helping vulnerable people. Because EVs emit fewer greenhouse gases than petrol or diesel cars.
As driving on electricity is much more cheaper than gasoline per month, fuel savings coming from vehicle electrification would be to the benefit of the lower-income population. Some observers say that EVs will soon become cheaper than their gas-powered counterparts. Maintenance issues are less in electric vehicles, though they need regular check-up. Of course, no oil changes or smog checks are required.
Studies say the value of lands which are near highways are lower than those elsewhere. That’s due to air and noise pollution. So if the country shifts from regular cars to Electric vehicles – which are cleaner and quieter – air and noise pollution will be reduced to a great extent. For the same reason, the value of lands close to freeways would go up.
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AVENUES
EVs are going to create economic opportunities in public and private investment areas. Huge investment is being made to construct charging infrastructure. Electric cars will open up new economic opportunities. For example, opportunities will be available for manufacturers, battery operators, and electric suppliers.
COMMUNITY HOME RULE
Since gasoline as transportation fuel, has always had various adverse effects on the communities of color, they have campaigned for greater self-determination. They did so to capture the local economic benefits of a transition to renewable energy. In many communities in the U.S. states like California, and New York, there is a program named COMMUNITY CHOICE AGGREGATION. It allows local governments to buy power on behalf of their residents.
Overall, we can say that adoption of electric cars would have positive effects on low-income communities of color in America.