Issue: Apr 2006


NHTSA encourages the use of advanced, high-strength, low-weight materials



New CAFE Structure Will Benefit Consumers With Better Fuel Economy, Safety and Environmental Performance,

by John Larkin

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have released a new rule to create size-based standards for Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), using size-based criterion to set fuel economy regulations for SUVs, pickups, vans and minivans.

The following statement is from Steve Larkin, President, The Aluminum Association, Inc.:

"The Aluminum Association was an early and vocal advocate of the size- based standards that NHTSA has adopted, and we applaud the agency for their data-driven and forward-thinking view on this issue. There is a growing body of knowledge confirming that vehicle size -- more than weight -- is a better determinant of vehicle safety, and by adopting size-based standards, NHTSA is encouraging the use of advanced, high-strength, low-weight materials -- such as aluminum -- to maintain or even increase vehicle size for safety, while reducing vehicle weight for improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. It is a win-win for consumers and automakers alike.

We know that today, automakers are increasingly turning to aluminum for solutions to their design and engineering challenges -- no doubt due to aluminum's environmental, safety and performance advantages. It was recently announced that aluminum has become the second most used automotive material, overtaking iron and behind only steel. With today's sky high fuel prices, rising global warming concerns and increasing safety demands, aluminum is a proven solution today, with even greater promise for the future."

The Aluminum Association provided docketed comments and comprehensive safety and cost benefit research to NHTSA as part of their CAFE rulemaking

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