A benefit-cost analysis of retrofitting diesel vehicles with particulate filters in the Mexico City metropolitan area

A benefit-cost analysis of retrofitting diesel vehicles with particulate filters in the Mexico City metropolitan area
Posted on February 1, 2010
Authors: Stevens G., Wilson A., Hammitt J. K.
Risk Analysis 2005 25(4): 883-899  PubmedID: 232775000000   ISSN/ISBN: 0272-4332   DOI: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2005.00650.x
In the Mexico City metropolitan area, poor air quality is a public health concern. Diesel vehicles contribute significantly to the emissions that are most harmful to health. Harmful diesel emissions can be reduced by retrofitting vehicles with one of several technologies, including diesel particulate filters. We quantified the social costs and benefits, including health benefits, of retrofitting diesel vehicles in Mexico City with catalyzed diesel particulate filters, actively regenerating diesel particulate filters, or diesel oxidation catalysts, either immediately or in 2010, when capital costs are expected to be lower. Retrofit with either type of diesel particulate filter or an oxidation catalyst is expected to provide net benefits to society beginning immediately and in 2010. At current prices, retrofit with an oxidation catalyst provides greatest net benefits. However, as capital costs decrease, retrofit with diesel particulate filters is expected to provide greater net benefits. In both scenarios, retrofit of older, dirtier vehicles that circulate only within the city provides greatest benefits, and retrofit with oxidation catalysts provides greater health benefits per dollar spent than retrofit with particulate filters. Uncertainty about the magnitude of net benefits of a retrofit program is significant. Results are most sensitive to values used to calculate benefits, such as the concentration-response coefficient, intake fraction (a measure of exposure), and the monetary value of health benefits.