Though the number of Americans working on vehicle assembly lines and parts plants has shrunk considerably in recent years, a new report suggests that their number could grow significantly along with consumers' increased interest in greener cars and trucks.
Fifteen states in particular could benefit from the expected boom, including Rust Belt states where auto manufacturing has waned in recent years, according to the report, produced jointly by the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the UAW, the union that represents autoworkers.
The industry currently employs more than 155,000 people who manufacture components for cleaner, more fuel efficient vehicles in 43 states and the District of Columbia.
The report's release Tuesday comes just ahead of President Obama's planned visit Thursday to an advanced battery plant in Holland, Mich., where he will tout new fuel economy standards, announced last month, that require new cars and light trucks to achieve an average 54.5 mpg by 2025.
The standard builds on rules finalized last year for model year 2012 through 2016 cars and light-duty trucks, notes TheHill.com. On Tuesday, the administration unveiled the first-ever federal fuel efficiency standards for a range of heavy-duty vehicles. The new rules require an overall 20 percent increase in fuel efficiency by 2018.
The report suggests that there is a strong correlation between gas-sipping, less-polluting vehicles and economic growth.
"The reality is that cleaner vehicles have already led to more jobs," NRDC Executive Director Peter Lehner said in a statement. "Our report shows how strong fuel efficiency standards have employed people nationwide, so stronger standards will certainly mean even more job growth in the future."
The report lists the top 15 states employing the highest number of autoworkers in what it says are clean, efficient technologies: Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Alabama, California, South Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Illinois, Virginia and Arizona.
Click on the following link for a copy of the report, which includes an interactive map: www.nrdc.org/transportation/autosuppliers/
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