Auto Jobs Are Growing — And Fuel Efficiency Is a Major Factor

As the federal government prepares to launch new rules on fuel economy and emissions, a new report from finds that auto jobs are growing – and the push for more efficient vehicles is a major factor.

Since June 2009 when the auto industry hit bottom, the U.S. auto industry has grown by 236,600 jobs, according to “How Fuel Efficiency is Driving Job Growth in the U.S. Auto Industry,” authored by Roland Hwang of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Max Moir Messern of Messern Consulting for

Automakers, their suppliers and their dealers are now looking ahead to a brighter future after the dark days of the recession‚ Part of that brighter future is due to manufacturers investing in innovative technologies to prepare their vehicle fleets for increased fuel efficiency standards.

More than 25 percent of auto job growth since 2009 is concentrated in just three Midwest states: Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, which have gained more than 66,000 jobs.


Auto Job Growth

Since June 2009

Job Gain

Since June 2009

Percent of New Jobs Added Since June 2009













The report identifies dozens of examples in the three states of new investment and jobs tied to products which increase fuel efficiency, including:

  • Michigan ‚Äì In Saginaw, automotive supplier Nexteer has added 650 jobs and will retain an additional 1,000 jobs for production of electric power steering components (EPS) for U.S.-made pickup trucks. EPS, which replaces a more fuel intensive hydraulic system, can boost fuel economy by 4-6percent on a typical vehicle.
  • Indiana ‚ÄìIn Greensburg, Indiana, Honda is investing $40 million and will hire 300 new workers as its Indiana facility becomes the sole global producer of the fuel-efficient Honda Civic hybrid. It will be exported to markets around the world from Indiana.
  • Ohio ‚ÄìIn Warren, Ohio, General Motors is running three shifts at its Lordstown Assembly plant, adding 1,200 jobs and employing 4,200 total workers to produce the high-mileage Chevy Cruze, which achieves 42 miles per gallon (MPG) in the EcoCruze model.

The Driving Growth study received widespread attention from news organization and bloggers, including write-ups in AOLAutos, MLive.Com, Mother Nature Network, AutoBlogGreen, Energy and Environment News (subscriber only), the,, Think Progress, and elsewhere.

New, fuel-efficient vehicles currently on sale in the U.S. market comply with the first year of a long-term federal program that requires a sales-weighted average of the equivalent of 35.5 mpg for cars and light trucks by 2016. Within the next few weeks, final rules are expected that will raise the standards even higher to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg by 2025.

For more information:

Roland Hwang’s blog on NRDC Switchboard press release

Full text of “How Fuel Efficiency is Driving Job Growth in the U.S. Auto Industry

Tiffany Ingram is the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Midwest Advocacy Director.


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