Automotive Aluminum Industry Statement on Today’s EPA Determination on Emissions Regs

By | News Releases

ARLINGTON, VA., August 2, 2018 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation announced today their proposed rulemaking for the fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for light-duty vehicles model years 2022-2025.

In response to the release today of proposed fuel economy and emissions standards, following is a statement from Aluminum Association President and CEO, Heidi Brock:

We are reviewing the draft rule in detail and continue to seek an outcome that maintains the competitiveness of U.S.-based suppliers, provides certainty to our automotive customers and ultimately helps produce better performing cars and trucks that consumers want to buy. As to weight and safety, leading auto safety experts agree, size—not weight—is the more influential safety determinant since bigger vehicles provide occupants more crush space in a crash. NHTSA’s assertions in the summary of its rationale (page 14) on lightweighting and safety in the draft rule are not supported by later analysis in the NPRM (page 279) that concedes, “… NHTSA does not consider this conclusion {that mass reduction increases fatalities} to be definitive because of the relatively wide confidence bounds of the estimates.” The NPRM also correctly recognizes (page 279), “Several technologies, such as substitution of light, high-strength materials for conventional materials during vehicle redesigns, have the potential to reduce weight and conserve fuel while maintaining a vehicle’s footprint and maintaining or possibly improving the vehicle’s structural strength and handling.” In fact, NHTSA’s own data, which confirm weight can be reduced safely in more than 95 percent of light trucks and passenger cars to boost MPG, while maintaining or increasing safety. For the remaining 5 percent, those very small passenger cars weighing 3,200 pounds or less, it’s simply not credible to suggest automakers will be forced to lightweight them under any regulatory scenario—and automakers have made no such claims. The insurance industry and the National Academy of Sciences, among many others, are on record confirming the existing standards resolve their prior concerns on lightweighting and safety. Thanks to smart design and lighter, yet highly crash-absorbent materials, from pickups like the Ford’s 5-star crash rated F-150, to passenger cars like Chevrolet’s 5-star crash rated Malibu, there are countless examples of redesigned vehicles on the road today maintaining or increasing their NHTSA safety ratings while shedding hundreds of pounds to boost fuel economy and performance.”     

Data confirming automakers are not planning to reduce vehicle weight of small passenger cars under any regulatory scenario:

Wide-Array of Safety Experts Challenging the Credibility of NHTSA’s Safety/Weight Claims: 

  • Russ Rader, an IIHS spokesman, said that the institute was ‘supportive of the fuel economy standards as implemented. The Obama-era changes to the rules, essentially using a sliding scale for fuel economy improvements by vehicle footprint, addressed safety concerns that IIHS raised in the past.” Bloomberg, February 12, 2018
  • David Zuby, chief research officer at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said he’s doubtful about the administration’s estimate of lives saved because other factors could affect traffic deaths, such as automakers agreeing to make automatic emergency braking standard on all models before 2022. “They’re making assumptions about stuff that may or may not be the same,” he said. Associated Press, July 31, 2018
  • “The idea that fuel efficiency standards are causing vehicles to be less safe is ludicrous,’’ said Jack Gillis, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America. “The U.S. auto industry has just experienced its two largest selling years in history, and fuel efficiency is helping. People love their SUVs and pickups, but they love them even more when they save money on gas.’’ Bloomberg, July 27, 2018
  • But that rationale {downweighting is bad for safety} has largely been debunked, said David Greene, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the University of Tennessee and a member of the National Academies fuel economy committee. “The problem with that argument is that it didn’t take into account that all of the light-duty vehicles would be made lighter and the cars weren’t made smaller,” he said. That leads to a simple physics equation — if all cars are lighter, there’s less kinetic energy involved in any crash. Therefore, the force between two vehicles is reduced when they collide. The Obama-era standards incentivize reducing mass in the heaviest of vehicles to reduce the spread between vehicle weights across all classes, said Tom Wenzel, a research scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s energy efficiency standards group. Wenzel’s research has replicated recent NHTSA studies showing that carmakers can reduce mass while maintaining a vehicle’s footprint — the space between four wheels — and cause the same number of deaths, or possibly fewer…We’ve kind of resolved the issue that mass reductions do not inherently increase fatalities.” E&E News, August 1, 2018
  • “The safety argument has two prongs. One is that automakers often achieve increases in fuel efficiency by light-weighting vehicles, which makes them less safe in the event of a crash. The other is that the Obama-era standards would have raised the price of new vehicles, thus encouraging people to keep their older, less safe models. But both prongs have been “largely debunked,” said John German, a senior fellow at the International Council on Clean Transportation. “In the old days, when they talked about lighter vehicles being less safe, it was actually that weight was correlated with size, and the smaller vehicles were correlated with fatalities.” E&E News, July 30, 2018
  • “In 2015, the {National Academy of Science} released a new study that concluded the change to a footprint measurement had satisfied many of its safety concerns.” Bloomberg, February 12, 2018
  • “Suggestions that an easing of the Obama-era standards would reduce fatalities ‘does not seem consistent with the findings of this report,’ said Therese Langer, transportation program director at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and a member of the National Academy of Science’s committee that produced the 2015 analysis.” Bloomberg, February 12, 2018
  • “Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign, pushed back against the notion that fuel economy standards contributed to traffic deaths, noting that fatalities have declined while fuel economy standards have become more stringent since they first took effect in the 1970’s.’The reason is better technology and design, not the changing weight of vehicles,’ said Becker, whose organization is affiliated with the Center for Auto Safety.” Bloomberg, February 12, 2018
  • “Allow me to be skeptical,” said Giorgio Rizzoni, an engineering professor and director of the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University. “To say that safety is a direct result of somehow freezing the fuel economy mandate for a few years, I think that’s a stretch.” Associated Press, July 31, 2018
  • A 2017 study by researchers from the University of Southern California, Yale University and the University of California at Irvine suggests that weight reductions distributed across the full array of vehicle types available to consumers can reduce fatalities. {Antonio} Bento, who works on vehicle issues with the California Air Resources Board, was skeptical of NHTSA’s {safety} argument. “We have no empirical evidence to that effect,” he said. Bloomberg, July 27, 2018

For more facts and research visit DriveAluminum.org and follow us on Twitter @DriveAluminum.

About the Aluminum Association

Through its Aluminum Transportation Group, the Aluminum Association communicates the benefits of aluminum in ground transportation applications to help accelerate its penetration through research programs and related outreach activities. The ATG’s mission is to serve member companies and act as a central resource for the automotive and commercial vehicle industries on aluminum issues. Members of the ATG include: Alcoa Inc., Aleris, Arconic, Constellium, Hydro, Kaiser Aluminum, Novelis Inc., Rio Tinto and Tri-Arrows Aluminum. Visit us online at DriveAluminum.org, and follow us on Twitter @DriveAluminum.

Auto Aluminum Statement on EPA Emissions Announcement

By | News Releases

ARLINGTON, VA., April 2, 2018 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released its final determination finding current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards for light-duty vehicles model years 2022-2025 are not appropriate. In response, the Aluminum Association today issued the following statement:

“The U.S. aluminum industry supports nearly 713,000 jobs and $186 billion in direct and indirect economic output and we look forward to continuing working with the Administration and other stakeholders to ensure final emissions and fuel economy standards are premised on facts, data and on-the-road examples. Vehicles made lighter through greater aluminum use offer consumers better performance, affordable choices, higher fuel economy, lower emissions and improved safety. The Aluminum Association, whose member companies invested more than $2.6 billion in auto-focused manufacturing jobs since 2013, strongly supports regulatory certainty to 2025 through one national program,” said Heidi Brock, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association.

For more facts and research visit DriveAluminum.org and follow us on Twitter @DriveAluminum.

# # #

 About the Aluminum Association

Through its Aluminum Transportation Group, the Aluminum Association communicates the benefits of aluminum in ground transportation applications to help accelerate its penetration through research programs and related outreach activities. The ATG’s mission is to serve member companies and act as a central resource for the automotive and commercial vehicle industries on aluminum issues. Members of the ATG include: Alcoa Inc., Aleris, Aluminum Precision Products Inc., Arconic, Constellium, Hydro, Kaiser Aluminum, Novelis Inc., Rio Tinto Alcan, Sapa Group and Tri-Arrows Aluminum. Visit us online at DriveAluminum.org, and follow us on Twitter.

 

Vehicles Designed with More Aluminum Win at 2018 North American International Auto Show

By | News Releases
  • Lincoln’s all aluminum-bodied 2018 Navigator wins North American Truck of the Year
  • Honda’s 2018 Accord with aluminum chassis wins North American Car of Year
  • Aluminum a key feature in finalists for all award categories

DETROIT, January 16, 2018 – The aluminum-intensive 2018 Lincoln Navigator was named Truck of the Year and the 2018 Honda Accord was named Car of the Year in the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) Awards, announced Monday, Jan. 15 at the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). This is the second consecutive year an aluminum-intensive vehicle has won a NACTOY award, a testament to the growing consensus that aluminum builds better cars and trucks, delivering on consumer preference for exceptional performance, safety ratings, fuel efficiency, durability, towing capability and sustainability. The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica was named North American Car Utility Vehicle of the Year in 2017.

Lincoln redesigned the 2018 Navigator with an all-aluminum body that helps the vehicle shed nearly 200 pounds of weight. This class-leading vehicle has an 8,700-pound towing capacity and EPA-estimated 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined.

The 2018 Honda Accord features a new aluminum-intensive chassis, control arms and subframe. The use of aluminum helps downweight the vehicle by 110 to 176 pounds overall, depending on the trim.

For more than 24 years, the NACTOY Awards has recognized the most outstanding new vehicles of the year. The awards are both highly competitive and diversified, with a jury of independent automotive journalists from the United States and Canada, rather than a single publication or news station.

Lincoln’s 2018 Navigator and Honda’s 2018 Accord are just two of the many aluminum-intensive vehicles nominated for a NACTOY award at 2018 NAIAS

Other finalists include:

2018 Ford Expedition (NACTOY Truck of the Year finalist)

  • The first vehicle redesign in 20 years helps generate more power than its predecessor with a 9,300-pound towing capacity.
  • The new aluminum body drops 300 pounds and achieves the best fuel economy in its class with an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio (NACTOY Utility of the Year finalist)

  • The Stelvio is significantly lighter than its competition, with an aluminum-intensive architecture.

 2018 Honda Odyssey (NACTOY Utility of the Year finalist)

  • This multi-material vehicle shed 96 pounds through a combination of materials including aluminum.

 2018 Toyota Camry (NACTOY Car of the Year finalist)

  • This vehicle’s aluminum hood helped to reduce the overall weight.

 2018 Kia Niro (NACTOY Utility of the Year semi-finalist)

  • The Niro’s aluminum hood, tailgate, assorted suspension components and brake rotors help boost fuel economy to 52 mpg in the city and 49 mpg on the highway.

 2018 Lexus LC500 (NACTOY Car of the Year semi-finalist)

  • A Lexus first, this vehicle features an aluminum hood, shock towers and outer doors.
  • The redesigned Lexus LC500 maintains an EPA-estimated 16 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined.

 2018 Hyundai Ionic (NACTOY Car of the Year semi-finalist)

  • Hyundai reduced the vehicle’s weight by 27 pounds with an aluminum hood and tailgate.

 2018 Audi A5 Sportback (NACTOY Car of the Year semi-finalist)

  • Audi uses a multi-material body construction of steel and aluminum in their 2018 A5.

Automakers continue to choose aluminum as the material of choice in the ever-changing industry climate, according to a recent study by Ducker Worldwide.

“It’s no wonder Car and Truck of the Year winners innovate with aluminum. From performance, safety and durability, to fuel economy, battery range and emissions, aluminum delivers in every category consumers demand in new cars and trucks. That’s why recent surveys of automakers confirm aluminum is the fastest growing material, leading the multi-material trend. It’s also why the U.S. aluminum industry invested more than 2.3 billion dollars in domestic automotive capacity and we’re poised to invest further as our customers continue to innovate with aluminum in next generation automobiles,” said Heidi Brock, President & CEO of the Aluminum Association.

Read more about aluminum’s vast role as the material of choice in the automotive sector in 2018, and beyond, at DriveAluminum.org.

# # #

 About the Aluminum Association

Through its Aluminum Transportation Group, the Aluminum Association communicates the benefits of aluminum in ground transportation applications to help accelerate its penetration through research programs and related outreach activities. The ATG’s mission is to serve member companies and act as a central resource for the automotive and commercial vehicle industries on aluminum issues. Members of the ATG include: Alcoa Inc., Aleris, Aluminum Precision Products Inc., Arconic, Constellium, Hydro, Kaiser Aluminum, Novelis Inc., Rio Tinto Alcan, Sapa Group and Tri-Arrows Aluminum. Visit us online at DriveAluminum.org, and follow us on Twitter.

 

Aluminum Industry Requests Regulatory Certainty from EPA Regulators During Public Hearing

By | News Releases

DETROIT, September 6, 2017 – Today, Ganesh Panneer, chairman of the Aluminum Association Aluminum Transportation Group (ATG) and vice president and general manager of automotive at Novelis, testified on behalf of the aluminum industry before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during a public hearing held in Washington, D.C.

In response to request for comments on the reconsideration of the final determination of the Midterm evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions standards for light-duty vehicles model years 2022-2025, Panneer emphasized the need for regulatory certainty for the automotive industry and its key suppliers, noting: “aluminum companies need predictability and consistency in the regulatory conditions under which they operate.”

Regulatory certainty is essential to the U.S. aluminum industry, which continues to make significant investments to meet growing demand for automotive aluminum. The industry supports more than 713,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs across the nation and since 2013 has invested more than $2.3 billion in domestic plant expansions to support growing demand in the auto market. Last year, demand for aluminum in automotive applications was greater than at any point in U.S. history.

During the hearing, Panneer also pointed to a recently released survey of automakers conducted by Ducker Worldwide, which concludes that to achieve greater efficiency and lower CO2 emissions automakers must reduce average vehicle weight by seven percent by 2025. In order to meet this target, automakers will continue to increase the adoption of high-strength, low weight aluminum in new car and truck construction at a faster pace than any time in history.

Panneer added: “Aluminum is a key enabler in helping automakers meet national fuel efficiency and emissions goals.”

He also cited a Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) study that recognizes aluminum’s environmental superiority, noting specifically “aluminum use in new vehicles offers the smallest total carbon footprint among competing materials.”

For a copy of Panneer’s remarks or supporting data and research, visit www.drivealuminum.org. Please also follow the ATG Twitter: @DriveAluminum.

# # #

About the Aluminum Association

Through its Aluminum Transportation Group, the Aluminum Association communicates the benefits of aluminum in ground transportation applications to help accelerate its penetration through research programs and related outreach activities. The ATG’s mission is to serve member companies and act as a central resource for the automotive and commercial vehicle industries on aluminum issues. Members of the ATG include: Alcoa Inc., Aleris, Aluminum Precision Products Inc., Arconic, Constellium, Hydro, Kaiser Aluminum, Novelis Inc., Rio Tinto Alcan, Sapa Group and Tri-Arrows Aluminum. Visit us online at DriveAluminum.org, and follow us on Twitter @DriveAluminum.

Subscribe to Drive Aluminum.

Subscribe to Drive Aluminum.

Get the latest passenger and commercial vehicle news roundups, research and events.

You have Successfully Subscribed!