Does air pollution increase electric vehicle adoption? Evidence from U.S. metropolitan areas, 2011–2018

Makena Coffman, Sherilyn Hayashida, Sumner La Croix, Climate Change, Energy, News, Publications, Transportation

A publication in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy by a team of economists including UHERO’s Coffman, Hayashida, and La Croix shows that changes in local air pollution within U.S. metropolitan areas are associated with changes in consumer purchases of new EVs. The authors find a positive association between PM2.5 pollution and BEV adoption, and a negative association between PM2.5 pollution and PHEV adoption. 

Abstract: We estimate a model of electric vehicle (EV) adoption in 427 of the largest metropolitan areas in the 48 contiguous U.S. states. We observe all new battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in electric vehicles (PHEV) registrations by metro area over the 2011–2018 period, and we investigate whether adoption of new EVs is statistically related to multiple types of air pollution – long-term air pollution as measured by ambient PM2.5 and temporary pollution events as measured by the presence of wildfire smoke plumes in either the lower or upper atmosphere. Regression results show that both ambient PM2.5 and smoke plumes are related to BEV and PHEV adoptions by metro area.

Bayham, Jude, et al. “Does air pollution increase electric vehicle adoption? Evidence from US metropolitan areas, 2011–2018.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy 11.4 (2022): 438-462.