Clean vehicle research, development, and production are already creating over 150,000 jobs in the US, but another 150,000 are expected from new vehicle emissions standards.
Let's start off with the simple equation that many in the cleantech industry realize but too many politicians (ahem,.. Tea Partiers) refuse to acknowledge: regulations geared at making technology (whether it be power plants, cars, or consumer technology) more energy efficient and environmentally friendly result in more jobs -- jobs for research and development and even new production jobs in many cases.
Now, a current example of this in the automobile industry. A report released this week by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), automotive workers union (UAW), and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) shows that vehicle emissions standards and clean vehicle R&D and production are already responsible for 155,000 jobs at 504 facilities in 43 states and the District of Columbia. 119,000 jobs have been created in this industry since 2009 alone.
The NRDC has an interesting interactive map on its website now showing where all these facilities are and providing a bit more information on them. The facilities are divided into 4 main categories:
- Advanced Internal Combustion Vehicles
- Hybrid and Alternative Fuel Vehicles
- Plug-in Electric Vehicles
- Common Components
Clean vehicles are not in widespread use yet, but they will be in the future, and the policies that are making that happen are creating work for people around the United States today.
Job Creation Expected from New Fuel Economy Standards
Beyond current jobs, though, the new fuel standards announced by Obama recently are projected (by a different report) to create another 150,000 jobs by 2021. Of course, this will result in positive ramifications in the larger economy as well. Add in the fact that the new standards will also save Americans $1.7 trillion at the pump and the results are even better.
Fuel efficiency standards may not be as sexy or interesting as Lady Gaga to many people, but they are important and are leading us forward economically as well as environmentally. From Silicon Valley to Michigan to Florida, clean vehicle standards are stimulating the economy and putting people to work.
Of course, broader clean energy policies that support the growth of solar and wind power would have a similar, and probably even a stronger, effect. Cleantech isn't just about protecting endangered plants and animals. It's also about improving our health and creating much-needed jobs.
Image Credit: NRDC