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Environmental consequence of a 25% steel v. 10% aluminum import tariff

Missile Toad

MSLR Wht/Blk/19 | OD 6/10/21 | RN11512
Aug 30, 2016
30.04, -95.16
Hunting around the internet, I came across this nugget

A peer-reviewed study by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that an aluminum-intensive vehicle can achieve up to a 20 percent reduction in total life cycle energy consumption and up to a 17 percent reduction in CO2 emissions.​

First off, I note that the tariff differential is a comparative price hike of 15% for the steel over the Aluminum. In other words, Trump just make steel and other iron alloys much more expensive over aluminum than the pre-tariff days. The outcome will be to incentivize auto manufacturers to manufacture with more aluminum. As international shipment declines (due to domestic production, and increased recycling), this produces a further environmental bump for even both EV & ICE vehicles.

However, another study indicates that the production CO2 intensity of steel v. aluminum might outweigh the tailpipe emission savings from aluminum.

Anybody got a handle on which design choice helps the environment more?


Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
United States
Anybody got a handle on which design choice helps the environment more?

You're basically asking a 'well-2-wheels' question... those are always full of 'ifs' and '*'; 'If' the aluminum is recycled AND the source of electricity is poor* then aluminum is probably the better choice... assuming the higher cost doesn't keep more older vehicles on the road...

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