New Report Highlights $76 Billion Investment in Automotive Plants as Automakers Build More Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

A new report released today shows $76 billion in investment in the nation’s automotive plants over the past decade as automakers implement current fuel economy standards. 

January 29, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 29, 2018) – A new report released today shows $76 billion in investment in the nation’s automotive plants over the past decade as automakers implement current fuel economy standards. The report, Driving Investment: How Fuel Efficiency is Rebuilding American Manufacturing, found that since 2008 U.S. automakers invested $63.8 billion in facilities across the country, completing 258 investments at 100 factories, with an additional $12.4 billion in investments at 42 facilities promised by 2020.

The report illustrated that the costs of compliance with fuel economy standards represent added automaker spending on product and manufacturing innovation, additional investments in factories and technology, and purchases of additional and upgraded components from suppliers. In turn, these costs are a much-needed, multi-billion dollar reinvestment in American manufacturing and jobs nationwide. The report cited several examples, including five sequential investments totaling over $1 billion in two Ohio engine plants to deploy much more fuel-efficient engines and large investments at assembly facilities making pickup trucks and SUVs that feature lightweight mixed-material bodies and frames.

“Today’s report shows how current fuel economy standards are helping to drive investment and growth in clean vehicle manufacturing and technology,” said Kim Glas, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Leading standards provide the certainty our nation’s manufacturers need to continue to invest in cutting-edge technology. Now is not the time to turn away from the progress that has been made for this nation’s economy and the environment.”

This new report shows that, while some of this $76 billion investment is due to business-as-usual automaker product and factory upgrades, much is driven by new, added, or enhanced investment in innovative products and manufacturing processes to meet the nation’s globally leading fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards. The report and accompanying animated map show how enhanced automaker investment in a new generation of cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles represents a major added investment in the revitalization of domestic manufacturing, as well as an investment in creating jobs and supporting communities all across the country.

The report follows a 2017 report on automotive suppliers by the BlueGreen Alliance and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Supplying Ingenuity II: U.S. Suppliers of Key Clean Fuel-Efficient Technology, which found that there are more than 1,200 factories in 48 states—and 288,000 workers—making the components and technology that go into improving fuel efficiency in today’s innovative vehicles.

“Together, the reports conclude that strong, certain, and long-term standards remain critical to ensuring that the United States continues to see the benefits of investment in advanced vehicle technology, measured not only as savings to consumers at the pump, but also as steady, much-needed reinvestment in manufacturing communities across the country,” added Glas.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that current vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards will result in over $1 trillion in consumer fuel savings, which greatly exceeds the costs of the standards. Additional benefits to the public such as pollution reduction and enhanced energy security go beyond direct savings at the pump.

“The robust investments we are seeing in clean vehicle innovation and manufacturing today shows not only the positive impact that fuel efficiency is having on our economy, but also the potential for growth moving forward,” said Zoe Lipman, Director of the BlueGreen Alliance’s Vehicles and Advanced Transportation Program. “Taking steps back from this path would harm our nation’s global competitiveness and our environment, take savings away from consumers, and could put the revitalization of American manufacturing, and the jobs that come with it, at risk.”

A visualizaion of the investments highlighted in the report can be found as a movie here and as a .gif here.