In 2012, the Obama Administration established a new set of fuel efficiency standards. In an effort to reduce dependence on foreign oil and greenhouse gas emissions, auto manufacturers have been tasked with the challenge of achieving 54.5 mpg fuel economy by model year 2025 for cars and light-duty trucks. For heavy-duty trucks and vans, manufacturers are required to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by model year 2018.
These deadlines are just around the corner, and in order to meet these standards, automakers have begun to make drastic changes in their manufacturing processes. One of the quickest and easiest ways to increase fuel efficiency is to reduce the vehicle weight. A lighter vehicle requires less energy to accelerate – According to Energy.gov, “A 10% reduction in vehicle weight can result in a 6%-8% fuel economy improvement.” Hence, a new trend has emerged among vehicle manufacturers: Lightweighting.
What is Lightweighting?
Lightweighting is the process in which automakers reduce the weight of a vehicle by using alternative materials in place of traditional steel and iron. Common lightweighting materials include:
- Advanced high-strength steel (AHSS)
- Magnesium alloys
- Aluminum alloys
- Carbon Fiber
- Polymer composites
Swapping out steel and iron for these lighter materials doesn’t come without its downsides, though. According to the Steel Market Development Institute, these materials are expensive and ultimately, these expenses land in the laps of consumers. These alternative materials, with the exception of AHSS, can cost approximately 20-30% more than traditional materials. Most automakers have opted to use AHSS in new vehicles, as this is the most cost effective option for both the manufacturers and the consumers. When shopping for a new truck, the institute encourages consumers to keep this in mind.
About Adrian Steel
Adrian Steel strives to produce the most innovative aftermarket truck and van equipment in the industry. Popular products include interior van shelving, truck toolboxes, roof-mounted ladder racks, and more! Contact Adrian Steel today to learn more:
Phone: (800) 677-2726
Contact Us Online
Connect on Social Media