Letters: Car weight, size and how it affects the safety of the vehicle

Published: Sunday, Feb. 10 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

Just last week at the Washington Auto Show, Energy Secretary Steven Chu affirmed the green benefits of cutting vehicle weight while maintaining or even boosting safety. And those green benefits? Lower weight vehicles use less energy to operate. When examining lifecycle energy use and emissions, aluminum was the clear environmental winner over steel for the smallest carbon footprint.

Associated Press

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Your article "Killer cars: How mpg rules make cars less safe and less green" (Jan. 30) gets it wrong on both counts. First, when it comes to crash safety, it's the vehicle's size — not weight — that matters. By trimming weight to boost fuel economy, automakers can actually maintain or even increase size for greater crash protection.

Take the durable, five-star safety-rated Audi A8, which uses aluminum to shed 20 percent of its weight and appreciates a 24 percent increase in body stiffness. Just last week at the Washington Auto Show, Energy Secretary Steven Chu affirmed the green benefits of cutting vehicle weight while maintaining or even boosting safety. And those green benefits? Lower weight vehicles use less energy to operate. When examining lifecycle energy use and emissions, aluminum was the clear environmental winner over steel for the smallest carbon footprint.

Automakers intend to double their use of high-strength, low-weight aluminum within a decade to increase vehicle fuel economy, cut emissions and preserve safety. Consumers and the environment win when this happens.

Randall Scheps, Chairman, The Aluminum Association's

Transportation Group

Cleveland, OH

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