Air Quality and Transportation
Air pollution emitted from transportation contributes to poor air quality, which has negative impacts on the health and welfare of U.S. citizens. Air Quality Awareness Week is an opportunity to engage with some of EPA's innovative resources that aim to reduce air pollution from transportation sources and improve public health.
On this page:
- Green Vehicle Guide
- EPA Region 2 Spotlight #1
- Clean School Bus Program
- EPA Region 2 Spotlight #2
- EPA Office of Transportation Air Quality Spotlight
- Transportation and Air Pollution Research
EPA developed the Green Vehicle Guide to help you find information on vehicles that are more efficient and less polluting. New models of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and alternative fuel vehicles are entering the market in increasing numbers each year.
What is a green vehicle?
- Electric vehicles (EVs) have a battery instead of a gasoline tank, and an electric motor instead of an engine. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are a combination of gasoline and electric vehicles, so they have a battery, an electric motor, a gasoline tank, and an engine. PHEVs use both gasoline and electricity as fuel sources. More on PHEVs.
How does electric vehicle charging work?
- Charging your all-electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is similar to charging your other electronics. One end of an electrical cord is plugged into your car, and the other end is plugged into a power source or charging equipment. Visit the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Charging website to read more information on charging.
What EV resources does ENERGY STAR have?
- Locate EV charging stations across the country.
- Research available electric vehicles.
- Explore incentives and rebates for electric vehicles and plug-in electric vehicles.
What is EPA's SmartWay program?
- EPA's SmartWay program helps companies advance supply chain sustainability by measuring, benchmarking, and improving freight transportation efficiency and sustainability. Search for a SmartWay vehicle today!
Stay connected! Sign up for Green Vehicle Guide E-Updates here.
Lily B., Mobile Source Air Quality Specialist
Hometown: Cinnaminson, NJ
Interesting Hobbies: Cooking and baking, reading, and exploring NYC by foot or bike
Bucket List Destination: Patagonia, Chile
Favorite Snack Food: Crackers
EPA Role: Mobile Source Air Quality Specialist
Primary Role Responsibilities and Projects: I work on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law implementation through EPA's Clean School Bus rebate and grant program, the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act implementation through rebates and grants, and I am responsible for transportation conformity in Region 2. In addition, I am the Environmental Justice representative between the Air and Radiation Division and the new Community Engagement & Environmental Justice Team Division. My core responsibilities as the Environmental Justice representative is to perform air quality analyses for National Environmental Protection Act reviews.
With funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA's new Clean School Bus Program provides $5 billion over the next five years (FY 2022-2026) to replace existing school buses with zero-emission and low-emission models. On April 24, 2023, EPA announced the availability of approximately $400 million in grants for cleaner school buses, prioritizing applicants that will replace buses serving high-need local education agencies, Tribal school districts funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or those receiving basic support payments for students living on Tribal land and rural areas. In October 2022, EPA awarded nearly $1 billion to school districts across the country for the rebate competition.
What are the clean school bus benefits?
- Cleaner air. Electric and alternatively-fueled buses eliminate or reduce school bus exhaust, which is linked to asthma.
- Reduced exposures to diesel exhaust, which can lead to asthma and other health concerns, particularly for children whose lungs are still developing.
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change.
- Grid resilience. Using bidirectional chargers, school buses can store energy distribution to the grid when needed.
Where can you learn more about the Clean School Bus Program?
- View Clean School Bus webinars. También disponible en español.
- Read over the Clean School Bus fact sheet.
- Explore the latest Clean School Bus Report to Congress to read about the program's milestones.
- Learn more about Clean School Bus funding opportunities.
Stay in touch about the Clean School Bus Program! Sign up to receive the latest information delivered to your inbox about upcoming funding opportunities, how to apply, eligible technologies and their benefits, and best practices and lessons learned.
Reema L., Senior Environmental Engineer
Hometown: Rosedale, Queens, NY
Interesting Hobbies: Crossword puzzles and reading
Bucket List Destination: Egypt, to see the pyramids!
Favorite Snack Food: Chips
EPA Role: Senior Environmental Engineer
Primary Role Responsibilities and Projects: I work in the Technology, Transportation and Radiation Branch in EPA Region 2 Air and Radiation Division and have been with EPA for 19 years (20 years in June 2023). I have worked on the Inspection and Maintenance Program, Diesel Emission Reduction Program, and Ports Initiative. One key effort performed by the Technology, Transportation and Radiation Branch is to implement emission reduction projects of in-use vehicles that benefit air quality.
Dr. Ruonan S., Testing and Advanced Technology Division's Senior Mechanical Engineer
Hometown: Beijing, China
Interesting Hobbies: Physical activities like swimming and hiking, as well as gardening with a special interest in bonsai training
Bucket List Destination: To visit most of the National Parks
Favorite Snack Food: Roasted almonds
Primary EPA Role: I serve as Testing and Advanced Technology Division’s principal investigator in the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory’s compliance testing programs for heavy-duty diesel engines and small non-road gasoline engines, helping to ensure manufacturers meet EPA’s emission standards.
Living and working near sources of air pollution can lead to higher exposures to air pollution, many of which contribute to negative health effects, including asthma and cardiovascular disease.
Some communities are more impacted by air pollution from transportation than others, making air pollution an environmental justice concern. Children, older adults, people with pre-existing cardiopulmonary disease, and people living in low socioeconomic communities are among those at higher risk for health impacts associated with living near busy highways, rail yards, marine ports, and industries where pollutants are emitted from multiple sources.
What do we know about near-road air quality?
- With more than 72 million people in the U.S. living within 200 meters of a heavily trafficked road, there is concern about the potential health impacts from air pollutants emitted from cars, trucks and other vehicles. Research has demonstrated that exposure to these pollutants can cause lung and heart problems and premature death.
- EPA’s emissions and fuel standards have reduced air pollution from on-road vehicles. Additional research is being conducted on alternative mitigation strategies to further reduce the impact of living near busy roads. For example, researchers are evaluating how roadway design, including noise barriers and roadside vegetation, can help to reduce exposure to air pollutants.
Read various transportation research publications to better understand air pollution from transportation sources and how we can innovate to improve air quality.