Seriously, if we made all our fuel in America we could create not just thousands, but potentially millions of jobs. What gives?
People on both the right and the left are demanding that automakers to bring jobs back to America. It was big news when Ford announced it would open a new manufacturing plant in Michigan. Then Fiat Chrysler Automobiles one-upped them and announced it would be opening two plants, one in Michigan, and one in Ohio.
The two companies have committed to creating a combined 2,700 jobs, which is great news for everyone, especially to those new hires and their families. But let’s keep the total number in perspective. If we produced all — or even most — of our transportation fuel here in America, we could create many times that 2,700. Let’s break down how:
Fact: We import 9 to 10 million barrels of oil… Every. Single. Day.
That’s about half of the 19.4 million barrels of oil we consume on a daily basis. Putting aside all the dangers associated with being dependent on foreign oil that’s a huge amount of money leaving our economy every day. Right now, oil is trading at $55 a barrel or so, meaning our economy is losing more than $500 million each day, and that’s only going to get worse as oil prices start to rise again. If oil returns $100 a barrel again — where it was as recently as Sept. 8th, 2014 — we’d be losing more than a billion dollars a day.
Beyond the lost cash, what we’re really losing are jobs. Lots and lots of jobs. Think of all the high-paying positions that could be created producing the equivalent of 9 to 10 billion barrels of oil. Right now, the ethanol industry supports 357,407 jobs, and that sector only contributes to approximately 10 percent of our fuel supply. If could displace our foreign oil imports with ethanol, we’d be talking about creating millions of jobs right here in America. We’d be creating positions for farm managers and equipment operators. For industrial engineers and manufacturers. For truck drivers and construction workers.
But ethanol doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to bear the burden alone. Displacing foreign oil imports with U.S. sourced natural gas derived fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), and high-octane alcohol fuels would also fuel significant job growth in the U.S. natural gas industry and lead to an expansion of infrastructure, from blending to distribution to retail. The same goes for the electric vehicle charging infrastructure and electricity generation.
The point is, we have all the resources we need right here in America to produce all the fuel for our cars, trucks, and SUVs.
And doing so would create an unprecedented jobs boom that our country sorely needs.