The United Autoworkers on Wednesday announced that it is supporting new light-duty vehicle fuel efficiency standards recently proposed by the US Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.
“The proposal represents a historic step forward for the US automobile industry, ” said Bob King, UAW president. “It will provide certainty for the manufacturers, significant savings at the gas pump for consumers, and it will create tens of thousands of jobs engineering and producing the technology needed to make vehicles more efficient.”
The EPA and Transportation Department have been working together to produce new emission standards that if enacted will require manufacturers to significantly improve fuel efficiency in passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and SUVs. The standards would be phased in over an eight-year period beginning with model-year 2017 and ending with model-year 2025.
The proposed emission standards were published in a Notice of Rule Making issued on November 16. Interested parties will have a chance to submit comments on the proposal. After reviewing the comments and holding hearings, the agencies will issue final rules governing new emission standards.
The proposal would require manufacturers to produce vehicles that on average produce 163 grams/mile of carbon dioxide. To achieve this standard, manufacturers’ vehicle fleets would need to average 54.5 miles per gallon by model-year 2025, which the EPA and Transportation Department estimate would save 4 billion barrels of oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2 billion metric tons over the lifetime of the vehicle fleets.
Customers driving model-year 2025 vehicles would save between $5,200 and $6,000 per year, easily offsetting the $2,000 increased cost of the more fuel-efficient vehicles.
The standards are flexible enough to allow consumers to continue to have access to the same wide a choice of vehicles that they now have.
The UAW estimates that the new green technologies that will need to be created to meet the fuel efficiency standards will create 190,000 new jobs by 2020.
According to a report published jointly by the UAW and the Natural Resource Defense Council, “The move to greater fuel economy means greater labor content per vehicle and higher employment across the fleet. This will include new investment in a host of incremental improvements to conventional gasoline powered internal combustion engines, from new controls for valves and timing, to variable speed transmissions and advanced electronics. It will also include entirely new systems like hybrid drive trains and advanced diesel engines.”
Another study conducted by the UAW, the NRDC, and the National Wildlife Federation found that currently there are 500 facilities in the US engaged in the development of green technology that will improve fuel efficiency. These facilities currently employee 150,000 people.
“We believe that (developing more fuel-efficient vehicles) sets the stage for a green-based revival of the US auto industry,” said King.