Cleaner Cars and Strong Climate Policy Can Create up to 150,000 American Jobs, new report says

Today, NRDC with the UAW and the Center for American Progress released a new report that demonstrates that fuel efficiency can go hand in hand with creating tens of thousands of high quality, clean energy manufacturing jobs. This is a text-book example of how with the right policies, we can create a win-win situation for the environment and the economy. Building more fuel efficient cars will, without doubt, reduce harmful pollution that threatens our environment but by putting the unemployed back to work, it can help save the economy too.

The report released today, called “Driving Growth: How Clean Cars and Climate Policy Can Create Jobs” was written by two Michigan-based researchers, Alan Baum from the analysis firm, The Planning Edge and Daniel Luria from the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center. Building more efficient vehicles, the study concludes, would create a need for additional clean car technologies, (think improved transmissions, hybrid drive trains, turbo chargers, etc.) throughout the car supply chain that would, in turn, create tens of thousands of new jobs in many different states.

According to the study, increasing a car's fuel use to 40.2 miles per gallon by 2020 could create more than 190,000 jobs through the world.  We believe cars could go to an even higher fuel standard, which would create even more jobs but the bottom line is: Better fuel economy means more clean technology components and more manufacturing jobs.

The key challenge is ensuring to the greatest degree possible that these jobs are created and remain domestically. Depending on policies, the study estimates between 49,000 and 151,000 of the jobs will be in the United States. Most experts, including those in the auto industry, understand that the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation are likely to strengthen greenhouse gas and fuel economy vehicle standards for the post 2016 period.

However, it is up to Congress to make sure the jobs that come along with new vehicles stay within the United States. Creating the right incentives can make sure that up to 150,000 of these new jobs stay here. The study sponsors agree with the report’s recommendations: “Comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation is the ideal policy tool because it provides support at the scale, predictability and duration needed to a fund a meaningful economic and technological transition. Domestic manufacturing incentives funded through steady allowance revenues, could prove crucial in the choices firms make where to locate production decisions and our economic stake in these emerging trends.” Clean energy, climate protection bills in Congress, including the House-passed American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) and the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S.1733, the Manager’s Mark), can help ensure the auto jobs of the future are American jobs. Each of these bills provide more than $23 billion dollars in long-term funding, stretching from 2012 to 2025, to retool manufacturing facilities for the production of advanced combustion vehicles and the next generation of clean vehicles powered by grid electricity.

We  have often said clean energy is the cleaner, cheaper, and faster way to meet our nation’s energy needs. Now we can add to that list “and create more good-paying jobs in the United States.”  The report we released today demonstrates that building better cars is good for the environment and good for the economy. We urge Congress to act to ensure the U.S. does not lose out in the race for clean energy jobs.