Researchers at the University of Oxford and University of Bath have found that the cost of the damage to our health caused by the average car in inner cities over its lifetime on the road is £7,714 per car. For diesel cars, the figure rises to £16,424.
If every new car in 2019 were electric, the researchers say it would save more than £325 million in health costs in the first year alone.
Costs to the NHS and society
The new research – ‘Health costs of air pollution from cars and vans’ – was published ahead of Clean Air Day 2018, which falls today (21 June).
The researchers found that the health damage effects associated with diesel vehicle emissions are around 20 times greater than electric vehicles and at least five times greater than those associated with petrol vehicles.
The researchers’ in-depth analysis has found for the first time that the health impact costs are significantly higher for diesel cars and vans compared with petrol, hybrid or electric vehicles over their 14-year and nine-year lifetimes.
In inner city areas such as inner London, the average cost to the NHS and society of a car is £7,714; for diesel cars the cost is £16,424 and for diesel vans it’s £24,555.
‘Our research for the first time illustrates the individual cost that each car and van has on the NHS and wider society. Every time these vehicles are driven, they are having a significant impact on our health, equivalent to £7,714 for an average inner London car over its lifetime.’
DR ALISTAIR HUNT
Lecturer in Environmental Economics, University of Bath
Costs of EVs, petrol and diesel
The researchers found battery electric cars and vans generate the lowest cost to society snd the NHS – as little as £827 and £1,443.
Petrol damage costs are £2,327 and £10,101 for cars and vans, respectively, and petrol hybrid cars have a damage cost of £1,824
Nearly 90% of the total £6 billion bill caused by emissions to the NHS and wider society comes from the impact of diesel emissions. Exposure to PM2.5 and NOX is linked to an estimated 40,000 early deaths.