Automotive engineers are responding to consumer and regulatory demands for improved vehicle fuel economy and reduced Co2 emissions. Aluminum has been identified as the most cost effective choice for achieving significant vehicle weight reduction leading to improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. Since 1975, average vehicle aluminum content has increased from 80 lbs. to over 350 pounds today. Aluminum is the second most commonly used automotive material today and represents 9% of the average car weight. On average, one pound of aluminum replaces 2 pounds of iron or steel. Aluminum is estimated to have avoided over 360 lbs. of weight in today’s cars and trucks. Interest in mass reduction on volume production vehicles began with the energy shortages of the early 70’s, and has increased steadily with increasing fuel costs and environmental CO2 concerns.
Aluminum has been an important part of improving fuel economy and emissions performance of current vehicles and will continue to be an increasingly important automotive material for the foreseeable future. By 2025 aluminum is expected to comprise 550 lbs. or about 18% of average curb weight.