Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

International Politics and Political Science, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Javier Rodriguez

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Melissa Rogers

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Bernie Jaworski

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2024 Arham Limoochi


Electric Vehicles, Environmental Sustainability, Health, Inequality, Public Policy, Respiratory and Cardiovascular Disease

Subject Categories

Environmental Policy | International Relations | Political Science


Transportation is a crucial source of air pollution in the United States, accounting for nearly 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions. This considerable contribution to environmental degradation has led many scholars to advocate for a shift towards Electric Vehicles (EVs) as an effective strategy to combat climate change and its adverse effects. EVs, known for their innovative design and reliance on alternative energy sources, differ significantly from traditional vehicles with internal combustion engines. This transition is more than a technological advancement; it symbolizes a significant move towards sustainable transportation, impacting environmental sustainability, public health, and socio-economic equity. My dissertation explores the multifaceted impact of transitioning to EVs, examining its critical role in mitigating climate change and reducing air pollution. The research investigates the effects of EV adoption on public health and assesses the socioeconomic factors influencing its uptake. By analyzing these aspects, the dissertation aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of both the benefits and challenges associated with EV adoption. My dissertation is based on two main quantitative research papers; one focuses on the impact of electric vehicles on healthcare, and the second explores the impact of EVs on inequality. The EV-health research concentrates on California's transition to EVs, analyzing data at the zip code level from 2011 to 2017. This study investigates emergency department visits related to asthma and acute myocardial infarction (AMI), employing simultaneous interquartile-range quantitative models. By utilizing public data, including car registration information from the Department of Energy and health data from the California Office of Health and Hazard Assessment, my research examines the correlation between increased EV usage and these key health outcomes. Significantly, the research found that a 5-percentage point increase in the ratio of EVs to gasoline vehicles correlated with a 25-percentage point decrease in asthma-related emergency department visits and a 12.5-percentage point reduction in AMI-related visits. These findings not only emphasize the health benefits of transitioning to EVs but also highlight the potential for considerable healthcare cost savings. For example, meeting the targets of Executive Order N-79- 20 by 2035 could result in about 37,000 fewer asthma-related emergency visits annually, saving approximately $65.5 million, and around 19,292 fewer AMI-related hospitalizations, saving about $425 million each year. In the EV-inequality section of my dissertation, I examined the impact of historical socioeconomic factors on EV adoption in the United States from 2012 to 2016 using a linear quartile regression model. This county-level analysis focused on how past socioeconomic conditions and demographics could predict contemporary EV adoption rates. The study discovered a significant relationship between the transition to EVs and pre-existing socioeconomic factors in the United States, even before the advent of EV technology. Counties with higher education levels, greater income, more adopting EVs while counties with larger Black population less adopting EVs. For education, the EV-to-gasoline ratio was at 0.001, indicating an additional EV for every 1,000 gasoline vehicles. However, a stark contrast was observed in the 4th quartile, where EV adoption was significantly higher, averaging 6 EVs per 1,000 gasoline vehicles. This suggests that individuals in the highest education bracket (4th quartile) were adopting EVs at a rate approximately six times greater than those in other quartiles. A similar pattern emerged with income, where those in the highest income bracket (4th quartile) showed the highest rate of EV adoption. In contrast, counties with the highest density of the Black population (4th quartile) exhibited a negative trend in EV adoption. Overall, The EV-health research highlights that the transition to electric vehicles has led to a significant reduction in emergency visits for asthma and acute myocardial infarction (AMI), particularly in areas with historically high rates of these emergencies. This trend points to substantial potential savings in healthcare costs. However, the EV-inequality paper reveals a disparity in the effectiveness of government policies offering incentives and rebates for EV adoption. These benefits are predominantly utilized by individuals with higher education and income, who have shown a significantly higher rate of EV adoption between 2012-2016. In contrast, lower-income communities, which are more vulnerable to diseases linked to poor air quality and in greater need of such environmental transitions, lack equitable access to these advantages. This situation suggests that without policies specifically targeted to address these disparities, the current approach may inadvertently exacerbate existing inequalities in access to cleaner transportation and its associated health benefits.