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The laws require 85% recyclability of vehicle components, with that percentage increasing over the next decade. S., California leads the way for tougher requirements, especially in the fuel tank and fuel line area.Another of plastic’s big intangible advantages is the one-stop, full-service purchasing offered to OEMs.Steel comes to the fore later in a vehicle’s life cycle, when recyclability becomes a key concern for obsolete autos and light trucks.The fuel tank has become a steel industry focus for regaining and retaining its market share in auto parts.
Soon their fuel systems will be hitting the dismantlers, and there is some question about handling the tanks and other parts of the system.“The key now is that the OEMs are trying to meet the partial-zero emissions standards,” Mould says. “We believe that steel has the best chance of doing this for the manufacturers right now.” Automakers have rushed to lightweight vehicles to make them more fuel-efficient. However, the end-of-life disposal of those vehicles and their components also is a major concern for manufacturers, faced with tougher recyclability in Europe and possibly in the U. Another fueling sector increasingly visible in dismantlers’ yards is the propane tank.Propane fuel vehicles are fairly commonplace in taxi and truck fleets.“Crushing or shearing validates that the tank is empty,” Crawford says, and it can go to scrap facilities and be processed like other steel.
PLASTIC’S ADVANTAGES APC’s Cundiff notes that plastics have four big advantages going into the auto battle: first, plastics cost less, both for the material itself and in operating costs later in the vehicle’s life; it is light, giving it advantages for fuel economy; it can be molded into complex shapes; and it offers chemical resistance to the new blends and additives put in fuel today.Traditionally, the plastics industry offered a full-service fuel-tank operation, participating in the design of the tank, building of the tank, and sending it to the car manufacturer.The steel industry basically provided steel to the OEMs who built what they needed.“There has to be infrastructure out there to handle those propane systems,” says Doris Hill, senior staff engineer in General Motors’ Designing for the Environment group, Flint, Mich.