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53,000 early deaths are attributed to exhaust from cars and trucks, annually.

And now for some not-so-uplifting news for your Labor Day weekend, especially if it involves a long road trip. Emissions from electric-power generation, industrial operations, commercial and residential sources and transportation (road, marine and rail) sources cause about 200,000 premature deaths in the US each year, Green Car Congress says, citing a study from MIT's Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment. The key point for us in the automotive world: road transportation alone accounts for "53,000 early deaths per year attributed to exhaust from the tailpipes of cars and trucks." EV advocates shouldn't gloat too much, as early deaths from electricity generation came in at 52,000, mostly in the Midwest where coal is still the main source of juice. The data MIT used came from the Environmental Protection Agency's National Emissions Inventory from 2005, the most recent available.

MIT somehow calculates that pollution-related deaths essentially occur about a decade before that person would've otherwise passed away. As far as geography is concerned, California alone accounts for about 21,000 of those 200,000 premature deaths, and fans of The Wire might be interested to know that Baltimore is the US city with the highest number of emissions-related deaths per capita. Amid all this negativity, there is some good news. Pollution-related deaths from rail operations were "relatively slight." So we have that going for us.