In days past, cars used to be made mostly of steel. The good old American automobile was a heavy one. Ford, GM or Chrysler cars in the 1970’s used to be moving ‘boats’. They were very heavy, large and consumed a humongous amount of fuel. That is until the oil crisis of the 1970’s.
In 1973, the Arab-Israeli war raged on. Egypt, Syria and other Arab countries attacked Israel to regain land that they had previously lost in 1967. Primary among these is the Sinai peninsula. Knowing that the United States is one of the primary backers of Israel, the oil-producing Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia, decided to reduce the amount of oil on the market, effectively creating an oil embargo against the western world in general, and against the united states in particular.
A Wake-Up Call
That embargo sent gas prices in the United States rocketing upwards. All the sudden, Americans who never really cared much about how much gas their cars consumed, started to care! They started to realize that American cars are heavy, bulky and consume much more gas than they should. Enter a new era in car manufacturing. Car manufacturers such as Ford and GM started to consider the fuel efficiency of their cars because customers demanded it. And fuel efficiency turns out is directly related to the weight of the car. All the sudden these luxury cars that are made of steel didn’t look as appealing as before. That is when auto manufacturers turned to Aluminum.
The Aluminum Manufacturing Era
The biggest and most important advantage of using aluminum to manufacture cars is its strength and lightweight. Because aluminum is light, a car that has certain components made of aluminum will weight much less than one that is made entirely of steel. Considering the direct relationship between weight and fuel efficiency, it is easy to understand the advantages that aluminum car manufacturing has when compared to other metals. It is the reason why aluminum extruders and manufacturers such as Signature Aluminum in Canada have focused on the auto market as an area of expansion.
Furthermore, with the advent of global warming, scientists started to warn about the dangers of burning hydrocarbons and releasing the co2 in the atmosphere. The primary use of hydrocarbons today is the gas that is used in billions of cars worldwide. Thus, moving to aluminum-made cars will significantly reduce the amount of gas that is consumed by these cars, which in turn is good for the environment.
An Aluminum Future
All these factors combine to conclude that light-weight aluminum is most likely the choice-metal of the future to manufacture cars, airplanes and anything else that uses fuel and burns hydrocarbons. Until we can kick the gas habit, reduction is the next best thing.