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Decarbonizing the Transportation Sector Will Create Millions of Jobs

ZETA Staff
ZETA Staff

ZETA brings together supporters of 100% electric vehicle sales by 2030. This diverse, non-partisan group coordinates public education efforts and federal policy development to promote EV adoption with the goal of creating American electric vehicle manufacturing jobs, increasing consumer choice, improving air quality and public health, and reducing carbon pollution.

ZETA Staff
September 26, 2022

Decarbonizing transportation provides an enormous opportunity for the U.S. job market—potentially creating 2.3 million jobs by 2035. With the recent enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the United States is well on its way to becoming a leader in the global electric vehicle (EV) industry.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that 12 new jobs are created for every $1 million invested in charging infrastructure; by comparison, internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle manufacturing creates an average of 7.2 jobs per million invested. Notably, the IRA is the single largest investment in the clean energy economy and will power much of the job growth promised by the law’s enactment. It contains: 

  • EV consumer tax credits for new and used car buyers, as well as commercial fleets;
  • Ambitious-but-achievable critical mineral targets for automakers;
  • Strong supply chain requirements to onshore and “friendshore” EV manufacturing; 
  • Significant investments to help car and light-duty truck manufacturers build new infrastructure and workforces in the United States;
  • Direct grants to a range of heavy-duty fleets to replace their existing vehicles with zero-emission alternatives.

These investments and policies will serve as key opportunities for industries such as domestic critical mineral mining, battery production, and American EV manufacturing. The battery supply chain doesn’t stop at EV production either: these batteries can serve as second-life applications for stationary energy storage and be recycled by reusing the critical minerals, fostering even more job growth as we expand the domestic industry’s downstream applications.

According to the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), the clean vehicles provisions in the IRA alone will create approximately 422,000 jobs in the next decade and spur even greater innovation in the transportation sector. 

Each policy laid out in the IRA incentivizes businesses to invest in this process in the United States, and each one creates a different subsection of jobs for the American public. The same PERI study referenced above projects the following job numbers:

  • Tax credits for purchasing electric vehicles and charging equipment will spur hiring in the traditional automotive sector, mining sector, mineral processing sector, and electrical equipment manufacturing sector, resulting in 261,000 jobs.
  • Manufacturing investments for new technologies and production processes will spur hiring in factory assembly, advanced manufacturing, and construction sectors, resulting in 78,000 jobs.
  • Direct investments in medium- and heavy-duty vehicle electrification will spur hiring in the traditional automotive sector, mining sector, processing sector, and research and development sector, resulting in 83,000 jobs.   

These numbers don’t include the hefty investments in electric vehicle infrastructure—like charging and high speed internet—provided in the IIJA and in separate Congressional appropriations. When coupled with American private sector innovation, these investments and appropriations will create millions of jobs that power the United States through the 21st century. 

Most importantly, these job numbers are not purely hypothetical: the EV sector added 6,000 jobs at an 8% growth rate in 2020, while the rest of the auto sector saw a 9% decline due to COVID-19. Spurring on the development of the domestic EV sector will only serve to put more Americans to work, and supporting the growth of the domestic EV industry is a direct investment in our job security and in our future. 

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About ZETA

National policies to support 100% electric vehicle sales.

The Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) is a federal coalition focused on advocating for 100% EV sales. Enacting policies that drive EV adoption will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, secure American global EV manufacturing dominance, drastically improve public health, and significantly reduce carbon pollution.