Steeling to Unintended Consequences
To quote the legendary Roseanne Roseannadanna, “It’s always something.” Or, to quote Jody Shaw, manager of technical marketing and product research for U.S.
To quote the legendary Roseanne Roseannadanna, “It’s always something.”
Or, to quote Jody Shaw, manager of technical marketing and product research for U.S. Steel, from a recent presentation to the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “In order to comply with the tailpipe-only regulations, automakers may inadvertently select materials that increase the life cycle carbon footprint of the vehicle. While other materials”—as in aluminum and magnesium—“may provide mass advantages in vehicles, the resulting improvement in fuel economy may not offset the energy use and CO2 emissions that result form manufacturing and recycling of a vehicle containing the replacement materials.”
Shaw’s recommendation? “To address these unintended consequences, a Life Cycle Assessment approach is needed.”
The North American steel industry is recommending that the emissions measurements start when the materials are still raw and conclude only when they are recycled. At which point, steel looks really, really good.
As Sunday will be the Super Bowl, there will undoubtedly be plenty of automotive commercials before, during and after the game, many of which focus on pickup trucks, because the ad agencies who work for the various OEMs have done deep demographic research that indicates that people who like football like trucks and vice versa. (We’ve always been a fan of the 1998 Nissan Frontier commercial that told us “Dogs like trucks.”) Anyway. . .there is one tough pickup truck that won’t be part of the festival of ads on Sunday because it is for a product that isn’t available in the U.S., the Volkswagen Amarok.
The finalists for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) awards were announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show today, and because the choices are essentially based on choices predicated on design and engineering (after all, as the jurors drive the vehicles, it isn’t an issue of sales or marketing), the selections of the three finalists in each category can be considered among the best in class when it comes to those two functions.
When it comes to quality, it seems as though Ford Motor Co. is on a roll.