Lightweighting Solutions Key to Helping Meet Tough New Fuel Economy Standards, Aluminum Industry Says

April 1, 2010

WASHINGTON, April 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In response to the signing of the final fuel economy standards and greenhouse gas emissions rules by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the following statement was issued by Randall Scheps, Chairman of The Aluminum Association, Inc.’s Aluminum Transportation Group:

“As automakers strive to meet tough new fuel economy and emissions standards, aluminum solutions must be part of a holistic approach to include lighter yet stronger materials, smart design, advanced powertrains and cleaner fuels. When aluminum structures are matched with advanced powertrains, their consumer benefits can be increased with even greater efficiencies and reduced costs.

“Aluminum is more crash absorbent than steel and can safely cut vehicle weight without reducing vehicle size, which offers great potential, since lighter vehicles can produce fewer emissions and need less fuel or battery power to operate. In fact, consumers can get a 5 to 7 percent vehicle fuel economy improvement for every 10 percent weight reduction by substituting aluminum for conventional steel. For plug-in electric vehicles, upgrading from traditional steel to an advanced aluminum body structure offers potential cost savings of up to $3,000 per vehicle, since the stored energy requirements of expensive batteries can be cut by 10 percent. Both aluminum-structured hybrids and aluminum-bodied diesels could return about a 13 percent increase in fuel economy, as compared to steel-bodied hybrids and diesel vehicles.

“In terms of emissions, lightweighting the world’s overall transportation fleet through the use of aluminum has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 660 million tons annually, or nearly nine percent of global, transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. In the auto sector, using aluminum can save a net 20 pounds of CO2 over the typical lifecycle of a vehicle for each pound of aluminum replacing two pounds of iron or steel – and more than 90 percent of automotive aluminum is recovered and recycled.

“The aluminum industry applauds the Administration for continuing to support size-based standards for passenger cars. Size-based standards allow automakers to build the large vehicles that consumers demand with the fuel efficiency they expect and to positively impact future vehicle design and construction. Vehicle size – not weight – has been shown to be a better determinant of vehicle safety.

“With nearly 40 years of uninterrupted growth, use of automotive aluminum in North American light vehicles is estimated at nearly 9 percent of vehicle curb weight in 2010 – an all-time high. For the next generation of cleaner, safer, higher performing vehicles, aluminum will continue to be a growing part of the solution.”

The Aluminum Association provided docketed comments and comprehensive safety and cost benefit research to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of this fuel economy rulemaking. For more information, to obtain a copy of the Association’s cost, powertrain, safety or growth studies, or to arrange an interview on any of these issues, please contact Kristin Tyll at 248.824.8200 or ktyll@stratacomm.net or visit www.autoaluminum.org.

SOURCE The Aluminum Association, Inc.

Source: newswire

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