Ways the Automotive Industry Can Become More Sustainable

Ways the Automotive Industry Can Become More Sustainable

It’s no secret that “go green” is progressing from a suggestion to an imperative. This will affect numerous industries around the world, but perhaps none more prominently than automotive manufacturing, which has a double-barreled dilemma: not only is its production process hard on the environment, so are its products. But just as automobiles are unsustainable, life without them is unimaginable. Here are five ways the automotive industry can become more sustainable.

Lower Resource Use in Manufacturing

We concentrate so heavily on the emissions that come from the cars on the road that it’s easy to overlook the resources that go into manufacturing the cars. While low-efficiency cars are derisively referred to as “gas guzzlers,” automobile plants are water guzzlers, no matter how efficient the cars on the assembly line are. Between all the industrial processes that go into running the plant, the production of a single car requires nearly 40,000 gallons of water. A production facility is also a major consumer of electricity, requiring nearly 80 kilowatt-hours per car. Using less water and power to make our cars will go far in keeping the auto industry viable.

Sell More Prompt Scrap

Whether it’s aluminum or steel, manufacturers mustn’t let good metal go to waste. Prompt scrap, the leftover metal that has not been used for a product, can be resold to scrappers and recyclers who can then distribute the metal to other businesses. Compare this with obsolete scrap, the disused consumer products that have already been processed. Keeping prompt scrap moving through the system finds non-automotive uses for this excess product.

Use Recycled Materials

Just as manufacturers can introduce recyclable materials into the marketplace, they can incorporate recycled materials into manufacturing as well. Cars that have retired from the road as well as unrelated consumer products can find new uses in new automobiles, from metal and tire rubber to carpeting. By reducing the need for raw materials, manufacturers can make their processes significantly more sustainable.

Go Electric

There’s only so much oil in the ground. Across the pond, the United Kingdom has resolved to ban all new petroleum-fueled automobiles by 2030—not as far down the road as you may think. A considerable transition to electric cars will be a necessary advance in order to continue a car-centric lifestyle in spite of diminishing petrocarbon resources. By putting more electric cars on the road, we can reduce our dependency on foreign oil as well as take major steps toward reducing emissions.

Increase Fuel Economy

With full electrification still out of reach, one of the most important ways the automotive industry can become more sustainable is to increase efficiency in the combustion engines we have now. Lighter-weight vehicles made from lighter materials mean your engine doesn’t have to work as hard. More aerodynamic design can take some workload off the engine as well without sacrificing horsepower. Until we can use no gas at all, we can still use much less.

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Ways the Automotive Industry Can Become More Sustainable

Ways the Automotive Industry Can Become More Sustainable

It’s no secret that “go green” is progressing from a suggestion to an imperative. This will affect numerous industries around the world, but perhaps none more prominently than automotive manufacturing, which has a double-barreled dilemma: not only is its production process hard on the environment, so are its products. But just as automobiles are unsustainable, life without them is unimaginable. Here are five ways the automotive industry can become more sustainable. Continue Reading. . . 

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