Over 7 million U.S. workers are currently employed by transportation-related industries affected by Reinventing Fire. This employment would shift in five ways. First, the shift away from oil reduces jobs in oil exploration and production; however, some of those jobs may be retained to make feedstocks and lubricants (not addressed in Reinventing Fire, which analyzes only combustive uses of fossil fuels). Second, more productive use of vehicles reduces vehicle miles traveled by nominally 50%, reducing jobs in auto manufacturing, parts, and repair. Third, consumer adoption of autos with higher prices and efficiencies leads to a slight increase in jobs due to higher revenue per auto. Fourth, using biofuels and hydrogen to power heavy trucks, airplanes, and some autos increases jobs in hydrogen and biofuels production. And fifth, more-efficient vehicles, used more productively, create financial savings that induce jobs in the wider economy.
The net effect on jobs of these changes is relatively small, and our analysis suggests that job shifting will be more prevalent than heavy job loss or gain in the sector. Not included, but potentially significant, is job-shifting between the United States and other countries as foreign automakers lose or gain market share, depending on whether U.S. automakers lead or lag the transition and hence gain or lose share in the domestic market (and potentially export markets).