Cleaner Cars Create Good Jobs, Reduce Pollution

A group of national, state and local labor, environmental and business leaders gathered during the event to hold a press conference that highlighted the benefits of cleaner, more efficient cars to our environment and economy.

January 25, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (January 24, 2012) A public hearing held today in San Francisco spotlighted the Obama administration’s proposal to raise new car fuel efficiency to 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025. A group of national, state and local labor, environmental and business leaders gathered during the event to hold a press conference that highlighted the benefits of cleaner, more efficient cars to our environment and economy.

“Here in California, we’ve paved the way for cleaner cars for nearly a decade,” said Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director. “Thanks to our state’s pioneering efforts and President Obama’s leadership, these new national standards will save American families thousands of dollars at the gas pump, create nearly half a million new jobs, slash our oil consumption by 1.5 million barrels per day, and help America tackle climate disruption.”

“Nearly 40% of San Francisco’s greenhouse gas emissions come from cars and trucks.  While our city is making great progress improving transit options, increasing bio-diesel use and building electric vehicle infrastructure, gasoline consumption remains a major source of pollution. Improving fuel economy standards is a powerful and necessary step for cleaning the air, fighting climate change and loosening the choke hold that petroleum has on our nation’s economy,” says Melanie Nutter, Director of San Francisco’s Department of Environment.

Improving vehicle fuel efficiency is a cleaner, cheaper, and faster way to meet our nation’s energy needs, and has the potential to create tens of thousands of American manufacturing jobs. Rather than sending our money overseas on imported oil, the group said, we can cut global warming pollution and enhance our energy security building the next generation of clean vehicles here in America.

“Cleaner cars mean less pollution in our air, more good jobs for workers in California and throughout the U.S. and more of our money staying here at home, instead of heading overseas to buy oil,” said Tim Paulson from the San Francisco Labor Council.

“Californians face an extreme air quality burden and rely on strong clean air standards to protect the public’s health,” said Jane Warner, President and CEO for the American Lung Association in California. “We applaud these historic advanced clean car standards and urge rapid adoption by the federal government to reduce harmful emissions from our motor vehicle fleet.”

A joint report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the United Auto Workers and the Center for American Progress said the current clean car standards would create up to 54,000 American jobs, in both the auto industry and the manufacturing supply chaint hrough 2016. By 2020, getting to 40 miles per gallon could create up to 150,000 additional manufacturing jobs here in America.

Melina Hristova from Boardwalk Auto Center inRedwood City — a dealership that sells fuel-efficient vehicles — spoke about the benefits clean cars have brought to the business. “Our dealership has benefitted tremendously from the huge demand for electric and fuel efficient vehicles in recent years. Fuel efficiency has proved to be very good for business,” said Hristova. “These new fuel economy standards will help to drive innovation in the auto industry and ensure that dealerships have the fuel efficient vehicles to match the overwhelming consumer demand.”

“Thirteen automakers and the United Auto Workers stood together when these standards were announced,” said Lisa Hoyos, California Director for the BlueGreen Alliance. “This proposed standard shows that great things can be accomplished by people working together to create policies that are good for our environment, our economy and our wallets.”

“My decision to purchase an electric car was driven by a variety of reasons, but the simplest reason was this: The cost of filling up with gas is just too much. I’m not just writing about the price we’re paying at the pump; I am also referring to the cost to our future generations, our national security, and our economy,” said Tim Goodrich from the Truman National Security Project. “As a veteran, I have seen the toll these costs take and I am doing what I can tostop contributing to the problem.”

The San Francisco hearing was the last of three hearings held by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — with the previous two held in Detroit and Philadelphia — on the proposed standards.