New Lightweight Steel Technologies Help Automakers Meet Fuel and Emission Standards

DETROIT, May 20, 2009 – In the effort to assist automakers in meeting new, more stringent fuel economy standards, while maintaining critical safety requirements, American Iron and Steel Institute’s Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) announced today that the North American steel industry is accelerating its work to provide affordable advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) solutions for vehicle mass reduction.

“The use of advanced high-strength steels reduces a vehicle’s structural weight by as much as 25 percent and is the cleanest environmentally friendly solution for future vehicles compared to other automotive structural materials,” said David C. Jeanes, P.E., president of SMDI.   “North American steel companies are committed to collaborating with automakers to develop vehicles that are safe and meet all environmental requirements with cost-effective, lightweight steel technologies.”

President Barack Obama’s administration, in cooperation with the automotive industry, environmental activists and members of state governments, recently released new fuel economy standards for passenger cars and light trucks, raising the required industry average to 35.5 miles-per-gallon (mpg) by 2016. Under the new rules, passenger vehicles will have to meet an average 39 mpg, while light trucks will be required to meet 30 mpg – which would save 1.8 billion barrels of oil and raise the average fuel efficiency of a new car by 30 percent.

“When it comes to reducing emissions, steel is the obvious material of choice for lightweighting, as it can reduce total life cycle CO2 emissions by up to 15 percent more than any other automotive material,” said Ron Krupitzer, vice president automotive applications for SMDI.

“Life cycle assessment (LCA), an established method of accounting for total greenhouse gas emissions associated with products like automobiles, has become an effective tool in determining the carbon footprint of products,” said Krupitzer. “LCA demonstrates steel’s contribution to lower vehicle emissions through the use of   highly energy-efficient AHSS coupled with steel’s full recyclability at the end of the vehicle’s useful life.”

A recent study by Ducker Worldwide shows that AHSS are the fastest-growing material in today’s new vehicles, which indicates that automakers already see the benefits of these new steels in terms of cost, mass reduction, fuel efficiency and safety.

The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute, grows and maintains the use of steel through strategies that promote cost-effective solutions in the automotive, construction and container markets, as well as for new-growth opportunities in emerging steel markets.  For more news or information, visit

SMDI’s Automotive Application Council investors:

AK Steel Corporation
ArcelorMittal Dofasco
ArcelorMittal USA
Nucor Corporation
Severstal North America, Inc.
United States Steel Corporation

Deanna Lorincz
Senior Director, Communications
Steel Market Development Institute
Tel: 248.945.4763