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Dependence On Cars Costs California $15B A Year, Report Says

Photo by Nathan Rupert

Traffic on I-5 South on April 18, 2009.

A new report from the American Lung Association says California's dependence on gas-powered vehicles costs the state $15 billion a year in health and climate-related expenses.

A new report from the American Lung Association says California's dependence on gas-powered vehicles costs the state $15 billion a year in health and climate-related expenses.

The report drills down on the costs of smog and climate pollution caused by passenger vehicles. Researchers evaluated the effects in California and in nine other states.

In evaluating health care costs, researchers factored in asthma attacks, hospitalizations and premature deaths.

Bonnie Holmes-Gen, the Lung Association of California's senior director of Air Quality and Climate Change, said the health effects in California alone are staggering.

“California has some of the worst air in the country, as we know. And in order to clean up the air, and reduce community health impacts, we need to substantially reduce the emissions from transportation sources," she said.

California policy calls for 15 percent of the cars sold by 2025 to be zero-emission vehicles.

The California Air Resources board said most of the cars on the road must be non-polluting if the state is going to meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

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