Although electric cars and other advanced-technology vehicles make up a very small portion of the U.S. vehicle market, a new report suggests that they have far greater significance to the economy—and an oversize role in creating U.S. jobs.
The highly annotated report, compiled by the BlueGreen Alliance and the Natural Resources Defense Council with the support of the United Steelworkers union, concludes that clean-vehicle technology manufacturing has spurred recovery in the automotive manufacturing industry post-recession, supporting 288,000 jobs in more than 1200 factories and engineering facilities in 48 U.S. states.
The businesses highlighted by the report assemble many of the parts—among them turbocharged engines, lightweight steel and aluminum body parts, electric-power-steering systems, and regenerative-braking systems—that have increased fleet fuel economy among new American vehicles in order to meet increasing federal fuel-economy and emissions standards.
Michigan, with nearly 70,000 fuel-efficient-vehicle technology manufacturing jobs, led other states by a wide margin. Indiana came in second, with almost 33,000 such jobs, followed by Ohio (27,838), Tennessee (16,455), Kentucky (15,319), California (14,776), and Alabama (13,439). There are currently 946,700 auto-parts and manufacturing jobs in the U.S.—up by 323,400 jobs since the nadir of the recession—and states’ rankings in clean-tech auto jobs roughly correspond with the number of overall auto-manufacturing jobs in each state.
“Tens of thousands of jobs in states like Ohio are proof that finding solutions to address climate change, clean air, and other environmental issues—like the common-sense clean-car and fuel-economy standards enacted in 2012 and being successfully implemented today—can build up America’s manufacturing sector and our economy as a whole,” Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers, said in a statement.