Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Real Stories of Higher Fuel Efficiency Standards Putting Industrial Midwest Back to Work

Put a way the shine and the polish. Put away the talking heads and their excellent hair and confidence opining with a certainty that is inversely proportional to their accuracy.

Give me a guy with callouses on his hands speaking from the heart, a woman speaking from experience, the coffee addled lab researchers talking about how they're pushing the limits. Show me the folks in the trenches with reports from the day to day world.

How is a higher fuel efficiency standard working for America?

It's working. It's putting the Industrial Powerhouse Midwest to work is how it's working. Here's a whole website dedicated to real-life stories of real, actual, real-life people getting real jobs and real businesses hiring and innovating BECAUSE OF, not in spite of, the recent increase in fuel efficiency standards:

Visit the site. Watch the videos and the stories from the ground.

Right now at this very moment, the 2007 35.5MPG by 2016 and the new 54MPG by 2025 fuel efficiency standards are pushing American companies to innovate, grow, hire and spark technologies with applications beyond the original market.  They're reducing our nation's need for energy. They're keeping more US money in our country. They're making American products more competitive globally.  They're keeping money in the pockets of American drivers at the pump, and putting downward pressure on gas prices from falling demand.

And they're reducing America's greenhouse gas emissions.

A higher fuel efficiency standard doesn't just impact a couple of car companies, mind you. This is about an entire industry from researchers and engineers, small parts manufacturers, and advanced battery manufacturers and all the small manufacturers in between.

This is from a Johnson Controls battery manufacturing plant in Ohio, a plant that employs 400 people and recently added 50 new jobs...

"This battery here is used for the Stop-Start application. The stop-start application is basically when your car is at idle position it shuts off and then the battery. And then the battery is used to keep your electrical components running and then restart your engine once you take off again....your battery will start your engine again when you take off the break."

Emerging Start-Stop technology will allow US cars to shut down the engine during stopped periods and start back up again when the light turns green. That's going to go a long way toward improving fuel efficiency.

Already popular in Europe, stop-start systems shut off the engine when it is not needed, such as when idling at traffic lights. It’s an inexpensive addition to conventional gasoline-powered cars and can reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions between 5 to 12 percent.
Reduce fuel consumption by up to TWELVE PERCENT...just by eliminating the fuel waste from sitting at a red light. 

This is a perfect example of  how we actually CAN reduce our energy use without all the hand wringing from the usual No We Can't voices telling us there's a secret agenda to send Americans back to living in caves.

We can do this. We as a nation CAN move toward a cleaner, lower carbon future. And the only way it's going to happen quickly is if we drive home the fact that it's not just GOOD for the planet and GOOD for our future. It's good for our economy and good for Right Now. Because a family struggling to get by -- and families are struggling to get by -- doesn't have climate change at top of mind. They've got worry and frustration in the pit of their gut because they very much need to see the dentist and they can't swing the cost. They're out of milk and not getting paid for another week. They have to shell out for $20 for their son's field trip and they're looking for quarters under couch cushions.

Let's put folks to work solving the world's problems like energy demands and climate change.

We know it works, because it's working.
More than 25 percent of total U.S. job growth in the auto sector since June, 2009 is concentrated is just three states – Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. For decades, these states have been at the center of U.S. auto manufacturing. Workers, companies and taxpayers in the Midwest are now benefiting from a resurgence of auto-related innovation and investment. As of June 2009, collectively, the three states saw an increase of 66,300 jobs, for a gain of 30.2 percent since the low point in June 2009.1

Michigan has seen the largest increase, adding 35,200 jobs for gain of 33.7 percent. Indiana’s auto manufacturing grew by 19,800 jobs for a gain of 39.8 percent. Finally, Ohio’s auto sector also is seeing robust growth with 11,300 jobs added for a gain of 17.4 percent since the economic low point of June 2009.
Stronger standards mean more “onshoring” of the production of fuel-efficiency components. Stronger U.S. standards means higher volumes of fuel-efficiency components and advanced vehicles that otherwise would be built overseas, since higher volumes justify producing locally. Examples of this onshoring trend are Toyota and Honda bringing hybrid production to Indiana, and Ford beginning to produce hybrid transmissions in Michigan, instead of purchasing from Japan.

America is manufacturing again. A large part of the credit goes to the man America just re-elected as president. And I suspect his re-election is due to his support for the hard-hit manufacturing states like Ohio and Michigan. We've noticed.

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