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Study: Aluminum auto components have further potential

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June 16, 2010—Using aluminum auto parts can safely reduce vehicle weight, increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, according to a new study from the University of Aachen.

The study analyzed 26 different auto components to determine the potential and the limits of high strength steel and aluminum for reducing vehicle weight.

Some key findings are:
• Using aluminum could reduce weight by 14 to 49 percent, whereas high strength steel can reduce weight by only 11 percent.
• Aluminum is more crash-absorbent than steel, making it safe to cut vehicle weight not size.
• Using more aluminum has the potential to reduce global, transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by 660 million tons, or 9 percent, annually.

“Aluminum use in the automotive sector has increased steadily for the past four decades,” said Randall Scheps, chairman of the Aluminum Association's Aluminum Transportation Group and Alcoa's director of Ground Transportation. “This study combined with other data on the benefits of aluminum suggest a total of about 525 pounds of additional weight savings, which could result in 2.7 more miles per gallon or a nearly 10 percent further improvement in fuel economy over a typical auto today. This can be done while maintaining , if not further improving, vehicle safety.”

For a copy of the study, go to aluminumintransportation.org.

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