Center for American Progress

Cleaner Cars and Strong Climate Policy Can Drive Economic Recovery and Create 150,000 American Jobs
Press Release

Cleaner Cars and Strong Climate Policy Can Drive Economic Recovery and Create 150,000 American Jobs

Groundbreaking New Report Links Benefits of Vehicle Efficiency and Comprehensive Clean Energy and Climate Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Congress has the power to put thousands of Americans in some of the hardest-hit industries back to work and help protect the environment at the same time, based on an analysis released today by the leading union for auto workers, a leading environmental organization and a leading economic policy organization. A new report finds that new vehicle technology and the right policy choices, including incentives for higher fuel efficiency vehicles, could create up to 150,000 jobs for U.S. workers.  

In “Driving Growth: How Clean Cars and Climate Policy Can Create Jobs,” the Natural Resources Defense Council, the UAW, and the Center for American Progress, demonstrate that a new fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles would allow drivers to enhance energy security, reduce carbon emissions, and put auto workers and many others back to work.

The economic and environmental benefits underscore the need for Congress to pass strong clean energy and climate legislation that would promote well-paying domestic jobs and encourage investments in efficient, oil-saving technologies, according to the report.

“This study shows that increasing automotive fuel efficiency will create jobs,” said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger. “By continuing the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program the federal government can make it much more likely that these jobs will be located in the United States. The ATVMIP is good for the environment and good for American workers.”

“We’ve known for a while that cleaner cars are better for the environment, but we also know that better cars would strengthen the auto industry and create jobs,” said Peter Lehner, NRDC executive director. “By building cleaner cars, we can tackle some of our most dire problems at the same time. We want to reduce carbon pollution and many unemployed people want to return to work; building better cars can help with both.”

“We know more fuel-efficient cars will mean more jobs for auto workers but we don’t know which country will get those jobs,” said Bracken Hendricks, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. “Strong federal leadership is required to build a clean energy economy and secure those jobs for American workers.”

The analysis emphasizes that improving vehicle performance would drive demand for a variety of manufactured components from engines to control valves, creating jobs in the supply chain as well as on the assembly line. In addition, the report demonstrates that creating the right business incentives is key to determining where these jobs will be located.

Read the full report, here.


 The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.3 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

The UAW is one of the nation’s largest unions with more than 390,000 active members and 600,000 retirees. Headquartered at Solidarity House in Detroit, the UAW is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the International Metalworkers Federation (IMF) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Chartered 75 years ago as the United Automobile Workers of America, the UAW has since become a union for all workers.