Experts at GDIS: Federal Emissions Regulations Should Address All Aspects of a Vehicle’s Life to Minimize Carbon Footprint

May 5, 2010

DETROIT, May 5 /PRNewswire/ — When it comes to evaluating a vehicle’s carbon footprint, federal rules should consider the full life of the vehicle, not just its driving phase, according to Lawrence W. Kavanagh, president of the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI). Kavanagh provided remarks on recent federal rules regarding fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions today, during a panel discussion on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), at the Ninth Annual Great Designs in Steel (GDIS) seminar in Livonia, Mich.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently established rules that set tailpipe emissions standards and increased the fuel economy of new passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States starting in the 2012 model year.

“The new tailpipe requirements are an important step in moving towards a cleaner economy,” Ron Krupitzer, vice present of automotive applications for SMDI, said. “However, future proposals for more aggressive standards fail to recognize the importance of all phases of a vehicle’s life, called Life Cycle Assessment approach, or LCA, in controlling its carbon footprint.”

LCA looks at the total greenhouse gas emissions from all phases of a vehicle’s life – from its manufacture through its disposal – and can help automakers make better decisions in the selection of structural materials for future cars and trucks. The LCA process shows that steel, which currently makes up 65 percent of the average North American vehicle, is the lowest generator of greenhouse gases across a vehicle’s life, in comparison to competing materials.

According to Kavanagh, when one considers the total vehicle life cycle, steel is the most environmentally effective choice for automakers due to its three-fold benefits: relatively low energy and emissions during the manufacturing phase; significant mass reduction with advanced high-strength steel during the driving phase; and 100 percent recyclability at the end of the vehicle’s life.

“Automakers like Mercedes-Benz and Toyota are already using the LCA approach to minimize a vehicle’s carbon footprint,” Kavanagh said. “We believe that use of LCA will continue to grow as other automakers strive to put the lowest possible greenhouse gas emitting vehicles on the road.”

The GDIS “Great” LCA roundtable discussed the use of a recent comparative LCA model and featured experts from Argonne National Laboratory, World Steel Association and the World Resources Institute. John McElroy, automotive journalist and analyst, served as the panel’s moderator. A number of other GDIS technical sessions regarding the LCA approach, greenhouse gas emissions and perspectives from the California Air Resources Board and EPA followed the roundtable.

The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), grows and maintains the use of steel through strategies that promote cost-effective solutions in the automotive, construction and container markets, as well as for new-growth opportunities in non-traditional steel markets. The Automotive Applications Council is a part of the SMDI and focuses on advancing the use of steel in the highly competitive automotive market. For more news or information, visit www.autosteel.org.

    Automotive Applications Council investors are:
    - AK Steel Corporation
    - ArcelorMittal Dofasco
    - ArcelorMittal USA
    - Nucor Corporation
    - Severstal North America
    - United States Steel Corporation

SOURCE American Iron and Steel Institute

Source: newswire

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