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Study puts total automobile air emissions costs in 86 metro areas in US at $145M/day

A new study published in the journal Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board estimates total automobile air emission costs in 86 US metropolitan areas to be US$145 million/day, with Los Angeles, California, and New York City (each US$23 million per day) having the highest totals. These external costs average US$0.64 per day per person and US$0.03 per vehicle mile traveled.

The study by a team from Carnegie Mellon and Arizona State Universities based its estimates on county-specific external air emission morbidity, mortality, and environmental costs.

Total air emission cost solely due to traffic congestion for the same 86 US metropolitan areas was also estimated to be $24 million per day. The authors compared these estimates with others in the literature and are found them to be generally consistent. These external automobile air emission costs are important for social benefit and cost assessment of transportation measures to reduce vehicle use.

The study does not include any abatement costs associated with automobile emission controls or government investments to reduce emissions such as traffic signal setting.

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) is one of six major divisions of the National Research Council—a private, nonprofit institution that is the principal operating agency of the National Academies.


  • Yeganeh Mashayekh, Paulina Jaramillo, Mikhail Chester, Chris T. Hendrickson, Christopher L. Weber (2011) Costs of Automobile Air Emissions in US Metropolitan Areas. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board doi: 10.3141/2233-14



"...county-specific external air emission morbidity, mortality, and environmental costs."

So, this study measures the cost of death by auto-pollution? If someone dies of particulate related lung disease, is that more or less expensive than someone who dies of cancer?


No, they die EARLIER. That should be obvious.


They die EARLIER - meaning it's a less expensive death than cancer? What's the point of this "study" really? Just another FEAR campaign?

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