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Obama: High-tech Automaking Creates Jobs

HOLLAND, Mich., Aug. 11 (UPI) — New auto technologies will create jobs and help automakers meet higher mileage requirements and lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil, the White House said.

Technological advances, combined with new mandates requiring automakers to bring their average fuel mileage for passenger cars to 55.4 miles per gallon by 2025 from the current 27 mpg mandate, “represent the largest single step our nation has ever taken to reduce our dependence on oil,” Heather Zichal, who coordinates the administration’s energy and climate policy, told reporters ahead of a trip by President Barack Obama Thursday to Holland, Mich., to tour a Johnson Controls Inc. advanced battery facility.

“This facility just emphasizes the administration’s commitment both to job creation and investment in clean-energy technologies,” Zichal said.

“Because of the critical investment we have made and because of innovative companies like Johnson Controls, the United States will soon have the ability to produce enough batteries to support 500,000 plug-in and hybrid vehicles,” she said.

Obama, who made similar remarks July 29 when he announced the 55.4 mpg fuel-efficiency standards for light-duty vehicles, was expected to deliver remarks at 2:40 p.m. EDT highlighting “the key role innovative technologies will play in helping automakers achieve the historic fuel-economy standards, establishing U.S. leadership in advanced vehicle manufacturing, spurring economic growth and creating high-quality domestic jobs in cutting-edge industries across America,” the White House said late Wednesday.

Obama visited Interstate Moving Services in Springfield, Va., Tuesday to announce the final fuel-efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles such as work trucks, buses, garbage trucks and heavier vehicles.

Big tractor-trailer trucks, for instance, will have to get 20 percent more miles per gallon by the 2018 model year under the first-ever fuel economy rules for heavy vehicles.

Total benefits, including less time spent refueling and lower global-warming emissions, were expected to exceed the projected costs of $8 billion by $49 billion over the trucks’ lifetime, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

The rules will save about 500 million barrels of oil over the vehicles’ life, the administration said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Tuesday and Thursday events “highlight this administration’s ongoing commitment to saving families and American businesses money at the pump, slashing our dependence on oil and creating cutting-edge jobs.”

Obama has called for getting 1 million plug-in electric hybrids on U.S. roadways by 2015, The Detroit News reported.

Congress created a $25 billion advanced-technology vehicles manufacturing loan program in 2008 to help U.S. automakers make vehicles that meet higher-mileage requirements and lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Obama plans to travel around the Midwest for three days next week on an “economic bus tour,” the White House said.

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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