Business & Real Estate

Report: Reliance of petroleum-based fuels costing California, other states billions

A motorcyclist rides between lanes as traffic backs up on U.S. 101 in Mill Valley, Calif., in 2011. A report released Thursday, Oct., 28, 2016, estimates that petroleum-based fuels cost California about $15 billion a year.
A motorcyclist rides between lanes as traffic backs up on U.S. 101 in Mill Valley, Calif., in 2011. A report released Thursday, Oct., 28, 2016, estimates that petroleum-based fuels cost California about $15 billion a year. Associated Press file

A report released Thursday by the American Lung Association in California says that an overreliance on petroleum-based fuels for transportation costs 10 U.S. states, including California, $37 billion in health expenses and climate costs annually.

The report, titled “Clean Air Future: Health and Climate Benefits of Zero Emission Vehicles,” asserts that a significant shift to zero-emission vehicles would not only clean the air and reduce health and climate concerns but save tens of billions of dollars.

Clean Air Future says that petroleum-based fuels cost California about $15 billion a year. That’s nearly twice the costs associated with No. 2 New York, estimated at $7.9 billion.

The report also presents data from nine other states that have adopted the California Zero Emission Vehicle program: Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.

“Relying almost exclusively on oil for transportation hurts our air, our health and our environment,” said Bonnie Holmes-Gen, senior director of air quality and climate change with the association.

Every year, the report says, pollution from passenger vehicles costs the 10 zero-emission states about $24 billion in health costs.

The report says that putting a significant number of zero-emission vehicles – including battery-powered, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles – on the roads by 2030 could save $13 billion in health costs in the 10 states. By 2050, under previously stated goals adopted by the zero-emission states, the annual savings could total $20 billion, the report says.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has set a goal of putting 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

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