New Analysis: EPA Clean Vehicle Standards Will Save Thousands of Lives, Protect Health, Slash Air Pollution

February 28, 2024
Sharyn Stein, 202-905-5718,

(Washington, D.C. – February 28, 2024) The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed pollution standards for new cars, buses and freight trucks would save more than 40,000 lives and prevent more than 25 million asthma attacks, according to a new analysis by Environmental Defense Fund.

EPA has proposed strengthening our national air pollution and greenhouse gas emission standards for both new light-and-medium-duty vehicles (cars, passenger trucks, and small delivery vans) and new heavy-duty vehicles (including freight trucks, buses, and garbage trucks). The agency is expected to finalize both standards next month.

“Our new analysis shows the magnitude of the health risk we all face from traffic pollution, and the lives we can save with the stronger, more protective clean vehicle standards that EPA has proposed,” said Ellen Robo, manager of transportation and clean air policy at Environmental Defense Fund. “Reducing pollution from new cars, trucks, and buses will save thousands of lives, prevent serious illnesses, and help us address the climate crisis.”

EDF looked at EPA’s projected emission changes for vehicle tailpipe, electricity generation, and refinery emissions due to the proposed standards. We then conducted an analysis using a health incidences-per-ton methodology, using the emission changes to understand the mortality and illness reductions these rules will provide.

Our analysis finds that between 2027 and 2055, EPA’s two proposed clean vehicle standards would prevent:

  • 41,400 premature deaths
  • 63,600 hospital and emergency room visits
  • 25.5 million asthma attacks
  • 9.3 million lost workdays and school absences

The two proposed standards will dramatically reduce harmful air pollution. EDF’s analysis found sharp reductions in fine particulate matter (sometimes called soot), sulfur dioxide, and some of the pollutants that cause ground-level ozone (commonly known as smog). EPA estimates the vehicle standards will reduce climate pollution by almost 10 billion metric tons by 2055 – about two years’ worth of U.S. total climate emissions from all sources.

You can read EDF’s analysis here.

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One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund ( creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund