On Tuesday, President Obama announced a historic fuel-efficiency program that will save American families $1.7 trillion in gas prices and reduce consumption by 12 billion barrels by 2025. But this announcement wasn’t just about efficiency and cost savings; it is part of the President’s effort to spur investment in innovation and technology to create jobs.
The program announced earlier this week provides businesses, like the one the President is visiting today in Michigan, the certainty they need to make investments in “game-changing technologies” that allow them to hire more workers.
In a White House blog post, Colleen Curtis elaborates in greater detail, highlighting a report released this week by the United Auto Workers, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the National Wildlife Federation:
The report lists the top 15 states employing the highest number of autoworkers in clean, efficient technologies: Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Alabama, California, South Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Illinois, Virginia, and Arizona.
And, these standards include some specific incentives to encourage early adoption of advanced technologies that represent game changing performance improvements – including electric vehicles and “off cycle” technologies like start-stop technology, where the engine actually shuts off when the driver stops at a red light to avoid wasting fuel while idling. The start-stop functionality relies on batteries like the ones Johnson Controls is manufacturing now in Holland, and will soon be manufacturing at another one of their existing battery plants outside of Toledo, Ohio which is being retrofitted to handle increased demand. Johnson Controls estimates the conversion will create 50 jobs.
In 2009, the President announced Recovery Act grants for businesses that developed battery and advanced vehicle technology. Johnson Controls capitalized on those grants and opened a lithium-ion plan in Holland, Michigan that manufactures batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. They hired roughly 150 people for that project alone.
The automotive industry has added 113,000 jobs since July 2009, and with investments like those made through Recovery Act grants, the United States will soon produce 40 percent of the world’s advanced batteries.
Check back shortly to learn more about the President’s visit today to Johnson Controls in Holland, Michigan.