A group representing environmental organizations and labor unions including the United Auto Workers is praising new fuel economy standards as a job-creation engine that could bring more than 20,000 jobs to Ohio by 2030.
This week, the Obama Administration set in place rules that will require automakers to reach a Corporate Average Fuel Economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
The BlueGreen Alliance says the new standard -- which nearly doubles the current 29 mpg requirement -- will create an estimated 570,000 U.S. jobs and save the nation $61 billion in gasoline costs by 2030. The report said 50,000 of those jobs would be related to manufacturing light-duty vehicles and their components.
"Ohio stands to gain 21,000 jobs from the implementation of these standards," said Frank Szollosi, federal policy associate for the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center. "We're talking about jobs for engineers who are going to have to help design the technology that gets put into these vehicles, and we're talking about keeping folks employed, great third shifts, great hiring at places here in Toledo, which is really the epicenter of the American automotive industry."
The National Wildlife Federation is one of the 14 organizations that make up the BlueGreen Alliance.
Mr. Szollosi was joined by UAW officials outside the Local 14 hall in Toledo on Thursday to present the alliance's findings.
"It's hard to overstate the importance of setting these technological standards," he said.
Local 14 represents about 1,800 workers at the General Motors Powertrain plant, which builds six-speed transmissions for front-wheel and rear-wheel drive applications. The plant will begin building a more fuel-efficient eight-speed transmission next year.
Ray Wood, president of Local 14, praised the new CAFE standards.
"We support that as the UAW, the community supports it, and we stand behind our President on that endeavor," he said. "We also believe by having increased fuel-efficiency standards, we save on gas. Our members and the community, they have the opportunity to put more money in their pocket. Having more money in their pocket, they can invest more in our communities, and their families can have a good standard of living."
Thirteen major automakers, including General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, endorsed the new standards during lengthy negotiations last year.
The new rules have been attacked by opponents, including Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, as too costly for consumers. They say the regulations would add to the cost of vehicles and limit the choices when consumers shop for a new car.
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