1995-10-01

Life-Cycle Energy Savings Potential from Aluminum-Intensive Vehicles 951837

The life-cycle energy and fuel-use impacts of U.S.-produced aluminum-intensive passenger cars and passenger trucks are assessed. The energy analysis includes vehicle fuel consumption, material production energy, and recycling energy. A model that simulates market dynamics was used to project aluminum-intensive vehicle market shares and national energy savings potential for the period between 2005 and 2030. We conclude that there is a net energy savings with the use of aluminum-intensive vehicles. Manufacturing costs must be reduced to achieve significant market penetration of aluminum-intensive vehicles. The petroleum energy saved from improved fuel efficiency offsets the additional energy needed to manufacture aluminum compared to steel. The energy needed to make aluminum can be reduced further if wrought aluminum is recycled back to wrought aluminum. We find that oil use is displaced by additional use of natural gas and nonfossil energy, but use of coal is lower. Many of the results are not necessarily applicable to vehicles built outside of the United States, but others could be used with caution.

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