Brief: How Electrified Transportation Can Benefit Low-Income Communities

Press Release
November 3, 2017
Contact: Alec Gerlach,, 703-516-0621

How Electrified Transportation Can Benefit Low-Income Communities

C2ES Brief Provides City Leaders Tools to Evaluate Air Quality and Health Benefits

WASHINGTON – City officials can improve air quality and the health of their most vulnerable residents by taking steps to speed the deployment of zero- and low-emission electric vehicles, finds a new brief from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). The brief provides resources to help cities evaluate the benefits of electrified transportation.

“Cities are taking the lead in reducing carbon emissions and protecting their communities because they can’t afford to wait for stronger federal action,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe. “With low-income communities already suffering a disproportionate share of harmful air pollution, it’s important that cities have the tools they need to electrify city buses and expand vehicle charging infrastructure.”

Among the recommended programs and technologies to electrify city fleets and promote electric vehicle adoption and use are:

  • transit authority transitions to zero-emission, all-electric buses that reduce overall roadway emissions and initially focus on vulnerable communities;
  • electrified school buses to protect children from adverse health impacts associated with diesel-powered buses;
  • expanded access to public electric-vehicle charging stations to provide infrastructure that promotes and reduces costs of individual ownership; and
  • car-share programs, like the BlueLA program in Los Angeles, that utilize shared electric vehicles that disburse the cost of “ownership” and eliminate tailpipe emissions.

The brief, “Electrified Transportation for All,” finds that electrified transportation can help deliver a “triple win” of improved air quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and cost savings to cities and their disadvantaged communities. It identifies transition costs and air quality benefits associated with the expansion of electric vehicle technologies, including individually-owned – and shared – electric passenger vehicles and both transit and school buses

Low-income communities typically experience more severe health effects from vehicle tailpipe emissions because they are often located near major roadways. Policies promoting the electrification of transportation can improve quality of life for such vulnerable communities.

The brief lays out the types of information city officials need to better evaluate the environmental and financial benefits of switching to electric vehicles. These considerations include the total cost of vehicle ownership, including initial purchase, fuel, operating and maintenance costs, and the costs associated with emissions-related health impacts, such as elevated risks for cancer, asthma, emphysema, heart disease and inhibited child development.

Read the Brief here.

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at