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Aluminum industry says NHTSA/EPA draft rule assumptions on lightweighting in small cars false

Last week, Mario Greco, chairman of the Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group (ATG) and director of global marketing of automotive for Arconic, testified on behalf of the aluminum industry before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during a public hearing held in Dearborn, Michigan.

In response to request for comments on the proposed rulemaking of the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (SAFE Vehicles Rule)—which would freeze fuel economy and GHG requirements at the current MY 2020 level through MY 2026—Greco acknowledged the significant amount of research already conducted by NHTSA and EPA and discussed four specific outcomes the aluminum industry is seeking in this rulemaking:

  • Data-driven decision making—especially as it pertains to safety;

  • Continued progress in technology adoption and improvements;

  • One national program that avoids protracted legal battles; and

  • Long term regulatory certainty to enable appropriate investment.

The agencies clearly recognize the body of data and on-the-road examples that confirm mass reduction through stronger, yet lighter materials helps deliver safe, fuel efficient and cost-effective vehicles to meet or exceed consumer demands. However, numerous flawed assumptions in the draft rule are misleading and overstate potential unfavorable impacts on safety, societal cost of the regulation and new vehicle sales.

Automakers are not reducing the weight of small cars, but instead are prioritizing weight reductions where it offers the most promise to boost fuel economy and reduce emissions—their larger, heavier cars and trucks.

—Mario Greco

The US aluminum industry continues to make significant investments to meet growing demand for automotive aluminum. The industry supports nearly 700,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs across the nation and since 2013 has invested more than $2.6 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 US history.

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