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Importance of Advanced High-Strength Steel and Manufacturing in Future Regulation

Kavanagh calls for future regulations to include life cycle emissions from vehicles

Steel used in today’s cars can help automakers reduce the carbon footprint of tomorrow’s vehicles and future regulations should address emissions from all phases of a vehicle’s life – materials manufacturing, driving and recycling, according to Lawrence W. Kavanagh, president of the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI). Kavanagh discussed the importance of advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) in reducing vehicle emissions in a panel discussion at the fourth annual American Metal Market (AMM) Automotive Metals Conference yesterday in Atlanta.

“With current and proposed emissions standards only looking at the driving (use) phase, greenhouse gases from materials manufacturing – a significant factor in total vehicle emissions – are overlooked,” Kavanagh said. “If regulations are developed considering only emissions during the driving phase and not all the other variables, from the raw materials phase to putting the car on the road, then we could end up having a fleet of vehicles that produce higher total emissions into the environment. That’s why SMDI recommends a life cycle assessment approach – which looks at emissions in all phases of a vehicle’s life – be incorporated in future regulations.”

According to Kavanagh, the use of AHSS in vehicles is a low-emissions solution, because it allows engineers to meet important strength and safety performance targets at a lower mass. AHSS is the fastest growing material in today’s light-duty vehicles, as they have been proven to deliver mass reductions of 25 percent or more. The third generation AHSS could add another 10 to 15 percent in mass reduction, yielding total improvements of 35 to 45 percent.

“The combination of low-emitting materials and innovative designs is the pathway to lowest emitting vehicles that will be safe, affordable and widely adopted by consumers,” Kavanagh said.

The AMM Automotive Metals Conference, now in its fourth year, featured discussions from industry experts on how automakers are planning for the future, how their suppliers should position themselves to increase market share, when product demand will rebound and how to prepare, as well as what factors are driving automakers’ purchasing decisions.

For an electronic copy of Kavanagh’s panel presentation at AMM’s Automotive Metals Conference, visit

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

Automotive Applications Council investors are:

— AK Steel Corporation
— ArcelorMittal Dofasco
— ArcelorMittal USA
— Nucor Corporation
— Severstal North America
— United States Steel Corporation

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