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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/23382

Title: Public health impacts of excess NOx emissions from Volkswagen diesel passenger vehicles in Germany
Authors: Chossière, Guillaume P.
Malina, Robert
Akshay Ashok, Robert
Dedoussi, Irene C.
Eastham, Sebastian D.
Speth, Raymond L.
Barrett, Steven R. H.
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: Environmental research letters, 12 (3), p. 1-14
Abstract: In September 2015, the Volkswagen Group (VW) admitted the use of ‘defeat devices’ designed to lower emissions measured during VW vehicle testing for regulatory purposes. Globally, 11 million cars sold between 2008 and 2015 are affected, including about 2.6 million in Germany. On-road emissions tests have yielded mean on-road NOx emissions for these cars of 0.85 g km 1, over four times the applicable European limit of 0.18 g km 1. This study estimates the human health impacts and costs associated with excess emissions from VW cars driven in Germany. A distribution of on-road emissions factors is derived from existing measurements and combined with sales data and a vehicle fleet model to estimate total excess NOx emissions. These emissions are distributed on a 25 by 28 km grid covering Europe, using the German Environmental Protection Agency’s (UBA) estimate of the spatial distribution of NOx emissions from passenger cars in Germany. We use the GEOS-Chem chemistry-transport model to predict the corresponding increase in population exposure to fine particulate matter and ozone in the European Union, Switzerland, and Norway, and a set of concentration-response functions to estimate mortality outcomes in terms of early deaths and of life-years lost. Integrated over the sales period (2008–2015), we estimate median mortality impacts from VW excess emissions in Germany to be 1 200 premature deaths in Europe, corresponding to 13 000 life-years lost and 1.9 billion EUR in costs associated with life-years lost. Approximately 60% of mortality costs occur outside Germany. For the current fleet, we estimate that if on-road emissions for all affected VW vehicles in Germany are reduced to the applicable European emission standard by the end of 2017, this would avert 29 000 life-years lost and 4.1 billion 2015 EUR in health costs (median estimates) relative to a counterfactual case with no recall.
Notes: Barrett, SRH (reprint author), MIT, Lab Aviat & Environm, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA. sbarrett@mit.edu
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/23382
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa5987
ISI #: 000396118800002
ISSN: 1748-9326
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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