Letter to the Editor: Aluminum’s footprint is getting smaller

By August 5, 2019 August 6th, 2019 No Comments

Lauren Wilk, Vice president, policy & international trade, The Aluminum Association, reaffirms the U.S. aluminum industry’s commitment to lowering the overall carbon footprint and producing vehicles that are environmentally friendly, in Automotive News.


Gregory Barker’s op-ed, “Aluminum is green for cars, but look at how it’s made” (July 22), notes China’s aluminum manufacturing processes are overly energy-intensive. It’s important, however, to draw a bright green line of distinction with the rest of the aluminum industry.

According to a life-cycle assessment, the energy needed to produce primary aluminum in North America, for example, is down more than a quarter since 1995. The resulting carbon footprint is down nearly 40 percent. Today, the North American aluminum industry continues to innovate, cutting production emissions further through advances in closed-loop recycling, continuous casting and increased use of renewable energy. Recycled aluminum use in North American autos, already high and still growing, is more than 90 percent less energy-intensive than primary aluminum.

The U.S. Department of Energy and a separate joint study by Ford Motor Co. and Magna International confirm aluminum generates the lowest total carbon footprint, compared with competing materials, because of its ability to reduce tailpipe emissions to more than offset production-related emissions. That’s why the Automotive Science Group has recognized the aluminum-bodied F-150 as delivering the best all-around performance with the smallest life-cycle carbon footprint among full-size trucks in North America.

To address climate change, all nations and all industries must continue to shrink their carbon footprints. The North American aluminum industry sets the global standard for continuously improving processes and helping automakers produce cars and trucks that go farther on a gallon of fuel or a battery charge, all while reducing overall emissions.


Vice president, policy & international trade

The Aluminum Association

This commentary was originally published by Automotive News on August 5, 2019.