The aluminum industry recently submitted comments on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel use from heavy duty trucks and buses for model years 2014 – 2017. As lighter vehicles use less fuel, vehicle weight is a key component to meeting proposed fuel economy and emissions regulations. Studies show a 14 percent weight reduction potential with aluminum applications in heavy duty vehicles. Based on the comments submitted, the following statement was issued by Randall Scheps, chairman of the Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group (ATG):
“We are pleased to see that weight reduction has been taken into account as a means for reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of heavy duty vehicles. EPA and NHTSA have done a good job in the difficult task of categorizing and developing an appropriate regulatory approach for each category in their first-ever effort to regulate the fuel economy for these vehicles.
To meet the tough new fuel economy and emissions regulations being proposed, next generation commercial vehicles will need to be lighter, cleaner and more fuel efficient – and aluminum delivers on all fronts. Proven heavy duty vehicle aluminum components can achieve a 2,360 pounds (14 percent) reduction in typical tractor weight. Many aluminum heavy-duty truck components have been proven in field service and already are available as optional equipment.
The average class 8 truck today already uses more than 1,000 pounds of aluminum in the form of forged wheels, trailer structure, cabs, fuel tanks and other critical components. In light of increasing federal mandates and other pressures, down weighting with additional aluminum components is one of the fastest ways to improve fuel economy, since it takes years for a new powertrain program to be brought to market. However, as powertrain advances come online, reducing vehicle weight will complement those new technologies and further extend their benefits. Similarly, the return on investment for using aluminum is even higher when down weighting is combined with other improvements like aerodynamics, engine optimization and low rolling resistance tires.
Reducing weight in commercial vehicles with aluminum has additional benefits including lower maintenance costs and higher resale value. For the next generation of cleaner, more profitable, higher-performing commercial vehicles, aluminum is an essential part of the solution.”
The ATG serves as a central resource for the automotive and commercial vehicle industries on aluminum issues and promotes research and programs to highlight aluminum’s positive impact on reducing vehicle weight and improving vehicle efficiency. For more information, please visit www.drivealuminum.org.
About the Aluminum Association
Through its Aluminum Transportation Group (ATG), 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., Novelis Inc., Rio Tinto Alcan, Aluminum Precision Products Inc., Hydro, Kaiser Aluminum Corporation and Sapa Group