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Study: highly-efficient semi-trucks lead to 120,000 new jobs by 2030. Say what?

When we first glanced at the "Delivering Jobs" report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Calstart, we were perplexed by claims that 120,000 jobs could be created by simply producing more efficient semi-trucks. We're all for more efficient trucks, but is job creation really that easy? We know that highly-skilled individuals would be hired to develop, engineer and produce these trucks, but we couldn't fathom that 120,000 people would be needed for these tasks. As we delved deeper, we discovered that the report makes a lot of assumptions and found that the claimed job creation level is certainly questionable. Two findings from the report are listed here:
  • Owners of advanced heavy-duty tractor-trailers could save $120,000 or more per truck over eight years, after paying back their initial $62,000-per-truck investment. Owners of large fleets of package delivery trucks or long-haul tractor-trailers could save hundreds of millions of dollars over 8 to 12 years. (CALSTART).
  • By investing $4.7 billion by 2020 and $13.5 billion by 2030 in more efficient trucks, the nation would reap savings of $10 billion by 2020 and $24 billion by 2030-over and above the initial costs of the technology. (UCS Climate 2030)
According to Calstart and UCS, the savings associated with these highly-efficient trucks could be directly returned to the industry, thus creating those 120,000 new jobs. The money saved by corporations could be used for hiring additional truck drivers, buying more trucks, transporting more cargo, opening new retail locations, expansion and so on. All of these actions would lead to exponential job growth, but what's going to prevent a company from just stashing the money away and padding its bottom line? We're not suggesting that the drive for more efficient semi-trucks should be ditched, but we don't want you to believe that switching over to more efficient vehicles would directly lead to employment for 120,000 people. It's just not that easy. Read the entire report here and let us know what you think.

[Source: Calstart via Green Car Congress]

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