The Environmental Benefits from Transportation Electrification: Urban Electric Buses


Stephen P. Holland, Erin T. Mansur, Nicholas Z. Muller, and Andrew J. Yates

Energy Policy, Volume 148, Part A, January 2021, 111921.
Working Paper, May 2020.
NBER Working Paper 27285, May 2020.



We determine the environmental benefit of using electric buses rather than diesel or CNG for urban transit. For diesel and CNG we calculate air pollution damages using the AP3 integrated assessment model. For electric buses we estimate air pollution damages by combining estimates of the marginal increase in emissions from electricity usage with the AP3 model. The environmental benefit is positive on average across all counties in the contiguous U.S. when comparing electric to either diesel or CNG. The environmental benefit of operating an electric bus fleet (rather than diesel) is about $70 million per year in Los Angeles and above $10 million per year in six other MSA’s. Including the environmental benefit, we calculate the net present value (NPV) of bus investment. Relative to diesel, the NPV benefit of an electric bus is positive on average and in the majority of urban counties. Relative to CNG, the NPV benefit is negative in all counties.