New fuel economy standards proposed in 2011 by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation could create 570,000 jobs between 2017 and 2030, according to a report released today by the BlueGreen Alliance.
The report was produced in association with the Sierra Club, the United Auto Workers, the National Resources Defense Council, and the American Council for an Energy- Efficient Economy, and can be found here.
The new standards have a number of benefits. First, the innovation necessary to meet the mandated 54.5 mph average by 2025 will create 50,000 jobs in design, manufacturing and development. The roughly $68 billion saved by consumers at the pump due to the standards could help create another 500,000 or so jobs. ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel described it this way in a call announcing the report:
“First, jobs are created to design and produce more efficient cars, and the parts used in those cars. Second, consumers save money on their fuel bills, and respond those fuel savings in ways that help the economy to grow.”
And that’s why the unions have supported new fuel standards.
“Production of fuel efficient vehicles is good for jobs in the U.S…Jobs are being created by bringing new technology into production,” said UAW International Representative Brad Markell today.
These smart regulations create a pathway for more private investment, will decrease harmful greenhouse gas emissions, increase national security by reducing dependence on foreign oil (by an amount equal to today’s combined imports from Saudi Arabia and Iraq), and serve as a model of job creation and environmental awareness for other industries.
According to the Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune, the new standards are the “single biggest step that any president has ever taken to slash our oil dependence.” Brune believes that Obama’s bet on the auto industry is “already paying off” and that the U.S. will produce the most efficient cars and trucks in the world. According to Peter Lehner, the Executive Director of the NRDC, the standards will make the U.S. the “global leader in the auto industry.”
ACEEE’s Nadel said the new fuel standards will increase American GDP by $75 billion annually, without even counting the benefits of pollution reduction, decreases in dependence on foreign oil, and increased export potential. Though he admitted that some jobs in the energy sector could be lost due to decreased fuel demands, a net increase in jobs in other sectors would make up for the shift.
In fact, even though new, more efficient vehicles will be more expensive than those currently marketed, savings from fuel efficiency will outweigh that cost by a factor of two.
By. Max Frankel
Max Frankel is a senior at Vassar College and an intern at the Center For American Progress