A dynamic transformation is happening across the U.S. auto industry. Driven by an emergence of jobs, technology and consumer demand, U.S. automakers are designing and building some of the world’s best high mileage, low emissions vehicles. DrivingGrowth.org is documenting this transformation through original reporting, interviews, infographics, short videos, and a collection of the most relevant news articles, research papers and government reports.
DrivingGrowth.org is a project of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). Together, we represent millions of Americans who support sustainable transportation, clean cars and good-paying manufacturing jobs.
Our hats are off to the companies, workers, unions, elected and community leaders whose are driving economic and jobs growth through a green transformation of the U.S. auto industry. We welcome comments, news about your company or organization, story ideas and other feedback at info@DrivingGrowth.org.
The Road to Consumer Relief and Lower Emissions
In 2007, Congress passed a bipartisan energy bill. The bill, signed into law by President George W. Bush, not only raised fuel standards, but it also leveled the playing field for U.S. automakers and bridged a gap between environmental advocates and auto manufacturers, allowing all involved to have meaningful discussions about the road forward. Today, both groups are working more closely than ever to meet consumer needs, protect the environment, and create jobs in one of America’s most critical manufacturing industries.
Building on the 2007 bipartisan law, the Obama Administration sat down with automakers and negotiated industry-wide agreements in 2009 and 2011 that set joint fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards.
Under a new landmark rule, announced in July 2011, standards for passenger cars and light trucks are now set to double to 54.5 mpg by 2025. And, for the first-time ever, heavy-duty vehicles‚Äîup to and including Class 8 freight haulers‚Äîwill also be covered by fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards.
It is no accident that the dramatic recovery we’re now seeing in the U.S. auto industry coincides with new fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standards. Consumers need relief at the gas pump and the increased availability of advanced, high-mileage vehicles is helping them get that relief.
Putting the Brakes on Climate Change and Pullution-Related Health Risks
Carbon pollution is a leading cause of climate change. By spewing carbon pollution into our air, we only intensify the record temperatures, dangerous heat waves and weather disruptions we see in our headlines. The new fuel standards are among the biggest steps ever taken by the U.S. government to cut carbon pollution and combat these global threats.
Vehicle emissions are also one of the key contributors to smog pollution, which causes hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks and other deadly respiratory illnesses each year. By cutting these dangerous emissions, the new standards will cut health care costs and, most importantly, save lives.
Investing in the Midwest, not the Middle East
New fuel efficiency and pollution standards mean that American consumers and businesses will spend less on fuel‚Äîto the tune of an estimated $500 billion over the next two decades. That’s a half a trillion dollars that will stay right here in the U.S. economy instead of being sent to the Middle East and big oil companies.
As these savings circulate throughout our economy, American households and businesses will have more money to spend on goods and services. The result: about half a million new jobs throughout the economy by 2030.
More money at home also means more investment in key domestic industries like auto manufacturing, based primarily in the hard-hit Midwest. Over the next 20 years, almost $300 billion will be invested in new research and development, allowing U.S. automakers to continue the trend of building the most advanced cars on the market‚ and accelerating the growth of an entire industry.
By rising to new marks set by fuel efficiency and pollution standards, U.S. car makers are delivering relief to consumers, moving our economy forward, helping protect our health and our environment and once again taking the lead position in automotive innovation.