New Report:Midwest Auto and Manufacturing Revival Takes Region Beyond "Drill Baby Drill", Anchors Job Growth, Innovation Nationwide

Smart standards, public-private investment, hard work, deliver tens of thousands of jobs in the region, cut unemployment sharply.

10-19-2012 // Tony Iallonardo, Zoe Lipman, Frank Szollosi and Michele Martin
Chevy Volt Car Charging

As voters contemplate who will occupy the White House and Congress in the years ahead, the Center for the Next Generation and the Center for American Progress released “Regional Energy, National Solutions,” a new report that argues that the United States needs a real strategy to achieve lasting energy and economic security – one that builds on the powerful assets of each region of the country and invests in multiple forms of energy and fuel.

“In the Midwest, American workers and the automotive industry are proving every day that America has what it takes to rebuild our economy, lead globally, and combat climate change at the same time,” said Zoe Lipman, Senior Manager New Energy Solutions, at the National Wildlife Federation, who authored the Midwest chapter of the Report.

“The oil company vision that focuses on moving still more of the dirtiest fuels through the Midwest, leaves the region with little but the risk of spills, pipelines in the backyard, and big debits against preserving our outdoor heritage for our children. By contrast, the Midwest is demonstrating right now that investment in building the next generation of far more efficient cars and trucks means added jobs, new businesses, and big savings for consumers – which in turn helps communities grow.”

In the Midwest the report finds:

  • Retooling the auto industry to build the next generation of vehicles has proved to be one of the most effective elements of a national recovery, adding more than 230,000 direct jobs in auto manufacturing and sales since the low point of the recession in mid-2009. That adds up to 14 percent growth, far outpacing the economy as a whole.
    • As of July 2012, Michigan added over 30,000 auto and auto components manufacturing jobs since mid 2009, Indiana added 20,000 auto jobs, and Ohio added nearly 11,000 auto jobs in the same time period.
  • In addition to revitalizing American manufacturing, the deep oil savings from vehicles being built now under strong new fuel-economy standards will mean net savings to consumers of more than $54 billion a year by 2030 and will add 570,000 jobs to the economy.

“We’re seeing job growth first hand in car, truck and component plants across the region – thanks to smart fuel economy standards going hand in hand with investment in building the next generation of vehicles here,” said Brad Markell, International Representative at the UAW. “Fuel efficiency means added innovation and added content in vehicles, and added content means more jobs.”

Near bankruptcy less than three years ago, the auto industry is now profitable, sales are rebounding, fuel-economy savings have exceeded expectations, and innovation is running hand in hand with manufacturing recovery. Automakers and auto-making states are leaders in clean energy patents; foreign and domestic automakers are bringing additional advanced vehicle manufacturing to the United States, including building here for export; and companies are hiring hundreds of new engineers.

And the auto industry isn’t alone. Unlike fossil-fuel only plans, the promise of the clean economy is not a mirage. Clean energy and technology investments are working all across the country, employing millions of Americans. In the second quarter of 2012 alone, more than 37,000 new clean energy jobs were announced in projects across 30 states.

The auto industry revival that is taking place in the Midwest – and in other manufacturing regions of the country - is proof that states and the nation prosper when we make energy choices that take the American people, our economy, and our outdoor heritage forward together.

“More fuel efficient cars and trucks also mean big savings for families,” said Jenny Linn of Mom’s Clean Air Force in Ohio. “Not only are we building jobs, but we’re cutting pollution. It’s an investment in prosperity and protecting the environment for our kids.”

It’s time for all our nation’s politicians to support these forward looking energy choices.

To read the full report, click here.