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EGEB: The UN announces the official end of leaded gas worldwide

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • The end of leaded gas use globally will prevent more than 1.2 million premature deaths.
  • Electrifying transport could add $47 billion annually to the US Southeast’s economy.
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The end of leaded gas

The US banned leaded gasoline on January 1, 1996, for use in new vehicles with the passage of the Clean Air Act for road-going vehicles. But it’s still used in aircraft, racing cars, farm equipment, and marine engines.

Internationally, by the 1980s, most high-income countries had prohibited the use of leaded gasoline. Yet, as late as 2002, almost all low- and middle-income countries were still using leaded gas, which causes heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

Today, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is announcing the official end of leaded gasoline worldwide. Last month, in Algeria, the world’s last refinery exhausted its leaded gas stocks.

Further details will emerge following a press conference later today with Inger Andersen, the executive director of the UNEP, Janet McCabe, deputy administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other experts about how the ban will roll out, and we’ll update accordingly.

Andersen said in a statement from the UNEP emailed to Electrek:

Overcoming a century of deaths and illnesses that affected hundreds of millions and degraded the environment worldwide, we are invigorated to change humanity’s trajectory for the better through an accelerated transition to clean vehicles and electric mobility.

Electrifying the US Southeast

Electrifying transport could add $47 billion annually to the US Southeast’s economy, according to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), which has released a new report, “Retained Transportation Fuel Spending in the Southeast: Electric vs. Internal Combustion Vehicles.”

Here are the key points that the analysis found for Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee:

  • Southeast consumers spend approximately $94 billion on gas and diesel fuels annually. $64 billion leaks out of the Southeast’s economy because the region has almost no oil production or refining operations. So just $30 billion is retained in the region’s economy.
  • If all of the Southeast’s vehicle miles traveled were electric today, the region’s consumers would spend about $52 billion on electricity, reducing consumer transportation fuel spending by $42 billion annually.
  • More than two-thirds of that $52 billion the Southeast spends on electricity for transportation — approximately $35 billion — would stay in the region. So that would be an extra $5 billion for the region.

SACE sums up:

By saving consumers $42 billion in fuel spending and keeping an extra $5 billion in-region, electrifying transportation in the Southeast would result in $47 billion in transportation fuel spending retained annually.

The Southeast clearly has a lot to gain by distancing itself from imported gas and diesel and embracing locally-generated electricity to power transportation.

To foster a strong EV market, we need favorable policies and regulatory reforms. 

Read more: 96% of EV owners say they’d buy another electric vehicle — AAA study

Photo: “Decayed Gas Pump” by Steve Snodgrass is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.