Public health impacts of excess NOx̳ emissions from Volkswagen diesel passenger vehicles in Germany
Author(s)Chossière, Guillaume P. (Guillaume Pierre)
Technology and Policy Program.
Steven R. H. Barrett.
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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 NOx̳, emissions for these cars of 0.85 g.km-¹, over four times the applicable European limit of 0.18 g.km-1 . This thesis 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 NOx̳ 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. I 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), I estimate median premature 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, I 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.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2017.Thesis: S.M. in Technology and Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Engineering, Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, Technology and Policy Program, 2017.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis. In title on title page and in the Abstract, double-underscored "x̳" in "NOx̳" appears as subscript.Includes bibliographical references (pages 57-65).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Data, Systems, and Society; Technology and Policy Program
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Aeronautics and Astronautics., Institute for Data, Systems, and Society., Engineering Systems Division., Technology and Policy Program.