WASHINGTON — At least 155,000 auto industry jobs now
exist in the United States devoted to fuel-efficient vehicle
technologies, with that number likely to grow, according to a joint
report released Tuesday by the United Auto Workers union and two
environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the
National Wildlife Federation.
The new study found that more than 300 companies in
43 states and the District of Columbia are currently involved in
manufacturing tied directly to clean and fuel efficient technologies.
That number is likely to expand even more in the wake of recently
announced fuel economy standards that would require a fleet average of
54.5 mpg by 2025.
Michigan led the nation with 97 facilities in the state employing about 38,000 workers, the report found.
That was followed by Ohio, with about 14,000 workers
employed at 28 facilities, and Indiana with about 12,000 workers at 30
But the jobs are not confined solely to traditional
auto-producing states. California, while only having about 7,000
workers, ranked second only to Michigan in the number of facilities —
with 79 — indicating it’s a growing home for Silicon-Valley-type
Peter Lehner, executive director of the Natural
Resources Defense Council, said the new report — which he said aimed to
be conservative in reaching its numbers — proved that cleaner cars are
indeed leading to more jobs.
“This is not a question of what might happen. This is
what’s happening today,” Lehner said. “This is an economic boom that is
affecting the entire country.”
Lehner said that as new fuel-efficient technologies
are adopted in more cars and trucks, “we expect this trend to continue”
toward job increases throughout the U.S.
UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said the union “believes strongly that these new technologies are going to create jobs.”
Jim Lyon, senior vice president of conservation
programs at the National Wildlife Federation, said moving to cleaner
vehicles will not only lessen dependence on foreign oil — but lessen the
pressure to drill for oil domestically in sensitive areas.
“The best place to drill for oil is under the hoods of cars and trucks,” Lyon said.
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