ACC Statement on Safety Aspects of the EPA-NHTSA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Fuel Efficiency of 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks

WASHINGTON (August 3, 2018) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today issued the “Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (SAFE Vehicles Rule),”a notice of proposed rulemaking that would freeze fuel economy standards at model year (MY) 2020 levels for MY 2021-2026. The American Chemistry Council issued the following statement, which may be attributed to Steve Russell, vice president of ACC’s Plastics Division:

“Advanced plastic and polymer composites are improving the safety, design, and efficiency of automobiles sold in the United States today and will continue to do so. NHTSA has determined through its own scientific research [ DOT HS 811 692DOT HS 812 404] that lightweight plastics and polymer composites maintain crashworthiness while improving fuel efficiency. ACC will work with the Administration to ensure the value of lightweight plastic and polymer composites and the high-skilled manufacturing jobs in the United States that produce them are reflected in the final rulemaking. These technologies—which are made in America and exported around the world—make the U.S. a leader in this economically vital industry.”

Plastic composites can absorb up to 12 times the crush energy of alternatives. Experts have found that the size of a vehicle is much more relevant to passenger safety than its weight. The latest science clearly shows that lightweight plastic and composite materials maintain and in some cases improve automotive safety.

Advanced plastic and composite materials will remain essential to economically enhancing vehicle safety features, reducing vehicle related injuries and fatalities, and optimizing performance and consumer preference through design flexibility.

ACC and its member companies will continue to innovate to bring the safety and design benefits of lightweight plastic and polymer composites to American consumers.”