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Program to Accelerate Development of Clean, Energy-Efficient Vehicle Technologies

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 23, 2011) - Plastics makers welcome U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu's recent announcement of "U.S. Drive," a partnership with industry to accelerate the development of clean, advanced, energy-efficient technologies for cars and light trucks.

"We look forward to opportunities to continue working with DOE under this new and innovative partnership," said Steve Russell , vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council. " Plastics contribute significantly to the efficiency, design and safety of modern transportation , and ongoing innovations in plastics are continuing to drive advancements in each of these important areas."

Through the American Chemistry Council, plastics makers have worked cooperatively with DOE for more than a decade, most recently on developing predictive engineering tools. Much of this work has allowed automobile designers to transition to lightweight plastics and plastics composites while continuing or enhancing vehicle safety and performance.

Plastics currently comprise 50 percent of the volume of modern vehicles while accounting for only 10 percent of the weight. In addition, plastics make possible cutting-edge features, such as in-car computer interfaces; fiber-reinforced plastics, which can be twice as strong as steel, yet five times lighter; electric car batteries; sound-absorbing foam; inflatable seatbelts that act as airbags; shatter-resistant moonroofs and headlamps, and more.

To learn more about the essential role of plastics in energy-efficient vehicles, see: .


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