Steel Industry Praises Ricardo Study Highlighting the Importance of Life Cycle Emissions in Properly Assessing the Carbon Footprint of Future Vehicles

DETROIT, June 28, 2011 – According to the study “Preparing for a Life Cycle CO2 Measure” recently released by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LCVP), an advisory group working to accelerate the shift to low-carbon vehicles and fuels, and conducted by Ricardo, a global engineering firm, vehicle manufacturing emissions can represent 23 to 46 percent of total vehicle emissions. These findings demonstrate that emissions other than tailpipe emissions are significant and therefore need to be included in future vehicle regulations.

“While proposed future regulations only consider tailpipe emissions, the manufacturing and end-of-life phases are becoming increasingly significant factors in total vehicle emissions and should not be overlooked,” Ron Krupitzer, vice president, automotive market for the Steel Market Development Institute, said. “That’s why SMDI strongly supports making life cycle assessment (LCA) a part of vehicle design and regulatory processes moving forward. Consideration of the entire life cycle is key to ensuring that emissions from future vehicles are reduced.”

When life cycle emissions are considered, steel-intensive designs of future vehicles will provide the lowest total emissions. This is because advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) produce low emissions during material and vehicle manufacturing, especially compared to other structural materials. Further, AHSS grades reduce emissions during the driving phase and are 100 percent recycled at the end of the vehicle’s life. Steel’s properties and value reflect one of the LCVP/Ricardo study conclusions, that LCA can drive reductions in both cost and carbon footprint.

SMDI is actively pursuing the LCA approach through the FutureSteelVehicle (FSV) program, which demonstrates the design of a low-emitting vehicle on a life cycle assessment basis at essentially no additional cost. FSV is designed based on new materials and technologies overlapping the future regulatory period to reduce weight by 35 percent and life cycle emissions by nearly 70 percent over a benchmark vehicle. The FSV results will offer low emissions solutions to automakers at a time when vehicle emissions regulations are being strengthened.

To learn more about LCA or the FutureSteelVehicle program, visit

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 Automotive Applications Council Investors
• AK Steel Corporation
• ArcelorMittal Dofasco
• ArcelorMittal USA LLC
• Nucor Corporation
• Severstal North America Inc.
• ThyssenKrupp Steel USA, LLC
• United States Steel Corporation

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