Vehicle Remanufacturing: Economic and Environmental Expansion of the Life Cycle 2016-01-1291
Applying the Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIOLCA) method to the question of fielding newly manufactured or remanufactured vehicles provides an illuminating view of the economic and environmental advantages of remanufacturing. Sustained accomplishments of policy and engineering have reduced vehicle emissions such that current work has reached the point of diminishing returns. The macroeconomic, global, unprecedented, debt-supercycle-combined with increasing costs of natural resource extraction and vehicle production-demands improved asset and resource utilization. Expanding and exploiting the entire vehicle life cycle is a profitable and sustainable extension of work to date; such extension calls for remanufacturing to move from vehicle components to the entire vehicle. Stretching service lifetimes delay traditional end-of-life recovery practices while radically challenging the status quo. Mainstream remanufacturing will affect entire industries including insurance, licensing, and financing as they incorporate remanufactured vehicles in a new narrative and expanded life cycle. Objective decisions about production, acquisition, and regulation should include considerations for not only the life cycle but extending it as well. While there is much future work to be done in this area, this paper opens the discussion about the economic and environmental advantages of enterprise-level vehicle remanufacturing. In this work, the EIOLCA Method, with the United States 2002 Benchmark Producer Price Model, provides the mechanism to explore the economic and environmental impact of equal amounts of economic activity for traditional vehicle manufacturing and novel vehicle remanufacturing.