While these proposed rules will first enter public comment period before the final version is likely released sometime in 2016, the aluminium industry is poised to assist its transportation customer base in meeting these new standards.

The Aluminum Association is committed to producing high quality, accurate data for OEMs as well as the EPA and other regulatory agencies on the benefit of aluminium lightweighting on fuel economy. Mass reduction using aluminium has emerged as a proven and cost effective technology for achieving improved road vehicle fuel economy and CO2 emissions performance. Over the past 40 years aluminium use in automotive light and heavy-duty vehicles has increased steadily. Since 1975, aluminium consumption in this market has grown by more than 4 billion pounds.

The weight and emission benefits that result from using aluminium in heavy-duty trucks are significant. Research conducted by Ricardo Consulting Engineers has shown that an “aluminium-intensive” Class 8 commercial tractor trailer can reduce vehicle weight by 3,300 pounds. For every 10% of weight reduction, up to a 5.5% improvement in fuel economy is possible. The study also found that substituting the nation’s fleet of Class 8 tractor-trailers with aluminium-intensive models would save 9.3 million tons of CO2 annually.

The aluminium industry is developing higher-strength alloys and improved componentry to continue driving significant fuel economy gains in the heavy-duty vehicle market. The industry is also pursuing new aluminium joining methods that will enable increased integration of aluminium and non-aluminium components into next generation heavy-duty vehicle design.

The aluminium industry has a long history of working with transportation market manufacturers throughout the supply chain to develop vehicle efficiency improvement solutions. That work will continue in the heavy-duty vehicle market, particularly as these new standards are finalised and implementation of the requirements begin.