Guest column: Going green, getting green with new mileage standards

By Mark Schauer/ BlueGreen Alliance

The first Model T rolled off the assembly line to great excitement about the future of an emerging industry -- and the potential for this new product to take Americans places they'd never been before. More than 100 years later, the auto industry is a keystone of the American economy.

Again there’s excitement and anticipation over the next generation of cars, except this time it’s not where cars will take us, but how.

Last year, through the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation, President Obama proposed new fuel economy and greenhouse gas pollution standards that will make a cleaner, more fuel efficient auto fleet a reality.

The proposed standards would reach the equivalent of 54.5 miles per gallon and 163 grams of carbon dioxide per mile (g/mi) for the average new vehicle in 2025, clearing the way for American-made cars to become top competitors in the global clean transportation markets, transporting us faster, cleaner, and more efficiently than ever before.

Responding to the consumer call to improve fuel efficiency will yield big benefits for the U.S. economy. In our just-published report, "Gearing Up: Smart Standards Create Good Jobs Building Cleaner Jobs," the BlueGreen Alliance estimated that 570,000 jobs would be created, including 50,000 in light-duty vehicle manufacturing (parts and vehicle assembly), by the year 2030. 

Real wages are projected to increase even faster than job growth. Higher fuel efficiency standards will create about 20,000 jobs in the clean manufacturing sector, significantly contributing to a healthier national economy, while lowering Michigan’s unemployment rate.

This investment in clean cars demonstrates a sound commitment to sustainability, growth in local communities, and jobs and the economy. It also prepares us to take on our automotive and manufacturing competitors around the world.

The bottom line is: In driving the next generation of American-made vehicles, you will be traveling farther for each gallon of gas you put in your tank, making fewer trips to the gas station and getting more car and more miles for each dollar you spend.

These proposed standards aren’t something to be afraid of. Cars have undergone tremendous changes over the past century, adding key safety features and technology along the way. Despite these many changes and improvements, doubling fuel economy before 2025 is without a doubt one of the single most significant improvements in a generation. It’s a change that will doubtless allow Americans and their favorite mode of transportation to meet the challenges of a 21st century economy.

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Thu, 08/09/2012 - 10:37am
You fail to recognize the impact of all this higher technology comes at a substantial cost to the consumer. If the new vehicles price themselves out of the market, the loss in manufacturing jobs will offset the jobs created by R&D. The first Model T was a success because it replaced a horse. A high mileage vehicle is a more costly version of existing technology and government dictates through EPA does not reflect public acceptance. The environmentalists will only be satisfied when we are all back on the farm. The domestic automobile industry is chained to an out-dated business model by the UAW. Unless that chain is broken and domestic producers are allowed the freedom to modernize the way they do business, the end of the domestic manufacturing will result in the greatest most efficient cars on earth, both of them are on display at the history museum.
Thu, 08/09/2012 - 12:53pm
YEA and in 1974 Congress establish" THE DEPARTMENT of ENERGY" to insure we always have gasoline and at a price that time gasoline"WAR" gas went up to $ 1.79 but back down to $ 0.57 up from $ 0.27 so this is No news just greed .........We citizen donot need another JOB(since ther are young student without a job) E SEnior and VETREANS need MONEY so up our SS check to $ 3000 a months and see how fast the economy grows.from where does that "Extra" money comes? Well in 2004 congress relaess $ 1.5 TRILLON to the AIG and the banks bail OUT. yes we SENOR are rich...but big Brother is HOLDING out on US plus the USA .....
Thu, 08/09/2012 - 5:56pm
Do the consumers really want higher fuel efficiency? Do the consumers want lower carbon dioxide emissions? We now know there is no man-made global warming. That scare was a hoax. There has been global cooling since 1998. We also know that the United States has sufficient oil reserves to be self-sufficient of imports as soon as we can drill for it. So why are we mandating higher fuel efficiency? The technology is now here where the market can make the choice. Bio-waste can be made into natural gas, alcohol, or oil. Maybe the plant, having 3 production lines, can make a proportion of each depending on the decision of management. Forecasts have been made that raising the fuel efficiency to 54 MPG could double the price of a small car to $ 50-60,000. However, I am impressed with reports of the Ford Eco-boost engine already achieving 54 MPG for small cars. Ford research has been anticipating the government fuel economy increase.
Thu, 08/09/2012 - 7:48pm
I assume you're from Mars where the global warming was indeed not made by man but I appreciate your interest in earth. However, oil is a global, not a US commodity, and powerful multinational corporations such as Exxon will ensure it goes to the highest bidder regardless of where it is pumped. Our jobs have moved overseas and so has the demand for our corn and our oil as our way of live changes dramatically to accommodate those countries on the rise. Cars will rise in price regardless as finite raw materials compete on a global market where we are no longer the highest bidder. The US has to invest in both alternative fuels and alternative methods of transportation. We can no longer afford to pave highways of oil.
Fri, 08/10/2012 - 6:27am
Mr. Schauer: If raising the mileage standard to 54 adds 20,000 jobs, then why not raise the mileage standard to 100--couldn't add even more jobs? The logic of Schauer stands economic theory and empirical evidence on its head. The one thing we can count on from additional regulation (CAFE standards) is that they raise the price of production and ensure fewer consumers can afford the vehicles. Further the increased regulation most surely will drive production off shore. The auto industry has spent the past 10+ years trying to get labor costs under control in order to bring jobs back on shore. Schauer and his gang's only result will be to raise the US cost of production again, the only difference this time is that auto workers won't benefit, government employees will.