July 16, 2007

Increased fuel economy standards will create 241,000 jobs, report says

Washington, D.C. – A report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) says that increasing the average fuel economy of America’s new cars to 35 mpg US (6.7 L/100 km) would save consumers US$61 billion at the gas pump. It would also increase U.S. employment by 241,000 jobs by 2020, including 23,900 in the auto industry. The study comes as the House of Representatives prepares to consider energy legislation in the coming weeks, which could include debate over a bill that would guarantee progress to 35 mpg by 2018.

“Putting technology to work means putting people to work, whether it’s in the computer industry or the auto industry,” says David Friedman, author of the study and research director of the Clean Vehicles Program at UCS. “A 35 mpg standard means billions of dollars helping to create more U.S. jobs, not lining the pockets of the oil industry and their overseas suppliers.”

According to the analysis, nearly US$24 billion of the gasoline savings would become new revenue for automakers in 2020; consumers could then choose how to spend the remaining US$37 billion saved in gasoline that year. Shifting the money from the oil industry to more productive parts of the economy would generate 82,900 new jobs in the service industry, 44,400 jobs in retail trade, 33,100 jobs in finance, insurance and real-estate industries, and 17,800 jobs in non-auto-industry manufacturing jobs. Thousands of other new jobs would be created in agriculture, transportation, construction, utilities and government. Oil and associated industries would see job forecasts drop by 21,000, although these jobs would be shifted to other sectors of the economy, yielding a net increase of 241,000 new jobs.

The report also says that putting fuel economy technology to work would cut oil consumption by 1.6 million barrels per day and reduce global warming pollution by more than 260 million metric tonnes, akin to taking nearly 40 million of today’s average cars and trucks off the road in 2020.

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