Conclusions from a recent MIT study provide yet more support for the need to move quickly on implementing stricter emissions standards: the cars and trucks we drive every day are shortening lives.

According to MIT’s Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment, total ground-level emissions account for 200,000 early deaths annually, and transportation is the leading cause.   More than smokestacks atop power plants, tailpipe emissions cause 53,000 premature deaths annually.  Those affected could die a decade earlier than otherwise might have been the case.  In comparison, about 34,000 people died in vehicle-related accidents in 2012.

The study, published in Atmospheric Environment, is a sobering reminder that air quality directly impacts human longevity.  At Consumers Union, we’re focused on strengthening emissions standards in order to reduce long term effects of air pollution.  We want to see EPA finalize the Clean Cars “Tier III” gasoline and tailpipe standards implemented as quickly as possible.  Cleaner gasoline and vehicles are within reach, and every year they’re delayed, more Americans needlessly suffer.