February 9, 2023

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Exquisite Automotive

Sustainable transportation for cleaner air, better health

This opinion column was submitted by Theresa Watts, a nurse since 2008 and a professor in nursing at the University of Nevada, Reno.

I think when most Nevadans think about air pollution, they think of poor air quality from wildfire smoke. However, exposure to air pollution is a continuous health challenge in Nevada, largely due to the proximity of homes to major road systems. Furthermore, many of these road systems are expanding to accommodate increases in commercial vehicles and heavy-duty trucks. People who are living with complex health and social conditions can experience exacerbation due to the everyday air pollution coming from vehicles. We need to address the significant public health issue of pollution caused by the transportation sector on the health of Nevadans.

The transportation sector is our country’s largest source of carbon pollution. While trucks and buses only account for 4% of vehicles on the road, they are responsible for nearly 25% of total transportation-sector greenhouse gas emissions. Medium and heavy-duty trucks include box trucks, delivery vans, the largest pickup trucks, flatbed trucks, RVs, dump trucks, garbage trucks, refrigerated trucks, big rigs and tractor trailers. Emissions from these vehicles are the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, and the number of truck miles traveled on the nation’s roads is forecast to continue to grow significantly in the coming decades.