New commercial vehicle fuel economy regulations announced by the Obama Administration and embraced by truck and engine manufacturers, as well as by environmental groups, show aluminum above all other materials as having the greatest potential to safely reduce vehicle weight to boost fuel economy and cut emissions. The final rule published this month by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires improvements to trucks and buses built from 2014 to 2018 that will reduce the nation’s oil consumption by an estimated 530 million barrels and cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 270 million metric tons annually, in part because they can be made lighter with aluminum.

In finalizing the rule, EPA and NHTSA evaluated aluminum, high strength steel and composites to rate the greatest mass reduction opportunities as the industry transitions away from traditional, heavier steel. Both agencies, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), showed aluminum far above the others as offering the greatest benefits