Thursday, March 30, 2023

A total no-brainer

Air pollution kills, and dirty diesel vehicles are a major source of it. Cleaning them up has enormous social benefits in avoided deaths and hospitalisations. How much? Billions of dollars:

A report quietly released by the Ministry of Transport in July shows tighter regulation of vehicle imports for air pollution could save society billions of dollars over the next three decades. If New Zealand implemented a requirement that new vehicle imports meet Euro 6/VI air pollution standards, the costs would run to between $22 million and $236m but the benefits would be between $1.1b and $8.3b.
The benefit / cost ratios of this are between 35 and 49, depending on how early (or late) we implement the standard, with the largest absolute savings coming with early implementation. And when you remember that the costs are "lower profits for trucking companies", while the benefits are "people don't die", it ought to be a total no-brainer to do this. But instead, the government has sat on it and done nothing. Which I guess makes sense when you remember that the trucking industry hires lobbyists and hob-nobs with Ministers at swanky parties and donates to their re-election campaigns, while people who die of air pollution don't. World's least corrupt country? Only if you ignore the bodycount...

(And meanwhile, the average Auckland motorway's benefit/cost ratio is basicly the reverse of this. But guess which one the government shovels money at?)