Yesterday, President Obama visited the Johnson Controls advanced battery manufacturing plant in Holland, MI (pictured) and talked about how cleaner cars will add jobs to the American economy. The White House blog chimed in, saying that there is a direct connection between the new fuel efficiency standards for both cars/light trucks and heavy trucks and increased jobs. This connection can be summed up in one word: stability.

Since the U.S. now has a single, nationwide roadmap for cleaner vehicles through 2025 (2017 for heavy duty trucks), companies are now able to plan how best to meet those targets, and figure out how many people they need to hire. The White House is full of numbers – the 54.5 mpg car standard will save 12 billion barrels of oil by 2025, for example – but didn't talk about how many jobs might be created nationwide. On a small scale, sure. At Johnson Controls, The White House says, 50 jobs could be created soon (and 150 were hired recently) but the big picture is left kind of vague. The Ceres coalition recently estimated that 54.5 mpg "would create roughly 484,00 jobs nationwide." This sounds great, but if you've got an hour to spare, listen to this This American Life episode to learn why this sort of calculation is not as simple as it sounds.


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