Steel Industry Calls for Shift in Vehicle Regulations

Should regulations that reduce vehicle emissions be based on tailpipe emissions or the total lifecycle of car/ truck manufacturing?

That’s an interesting question, and although it’s posed by
WorldAutoSteel, the automotive group of the World Steel Association – will clearly has self-serving interests – they may have a point.

The group is pressing to shift the basis of vehicle emissions regulations from tailpipe emissions to considering all aspects of a vehicle’s life, from material production to end-of-life-recycling.

"When vehicle emissions assessment is focused solely on emissions produced during the driving phase (tailpipe), this encourages the use of greenhouse gas-intensive materials in an effort to reduce vehicle weight and fuel consumption", says Cees ten Broek, WorldAutoSteel Director.  "However, this may have the unintended consequence of increasing greenhouse gas emissions during the vehicle’s total life cycle."

Alternative materials, such as aluminium, magnesium and carbon fiber, produce emissions during their manufacture that are 5-20 times greater than steel.

Further, "Legislation that focuses only on one part of the vehicle’s life cycle will become immediately out of date as the electric vehicle becomes more prominent on the road", says ten Broek.  "We are only shifting the problem to other vehicle life cycle phases."

WorldAutoSteel recently released results of a global steel industry initiative, the FutureSteelVehicle, which features fully engineered steel body structure designs for electrified vehicles that reduce total life cycle emissions by nearly 70%.

The US is currently implementing fuel economy and emissions requirements for 2017-2025. The EU and many countries in Asia are also assessing them. 

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