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U.S. House of Representatives Continues to Recognize Essential Role of Plastics in Auto Safety and Buildout of Low-Carbon Vehicles Infrastructure

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Chris VandenHeuvel
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WASHINGTON (July 29, 2021) – Through today’s passage of the FY2022 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; and FY2022 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies and as contained in H.R. 4502, a seven-bill federal spending package and language contained therein, the American Chemistry Council applauds the House of Representatives’ continued multi-year appropriations recognition of the essential and growing role of lightweight plastics and polymer composites in improving automotive safety and fuel efficiency, delivering alternative fuel vehicles, and creating highly skilled American jobs. 

The Fiscal Year 2022 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee report notes: “The Committee recognizes the importance that lightweight plastics and polymer composites play to improve automotive safety, meet consumer demand for innovative and autonomous vehicles, increase fuel efficiency, and support new highly skilled manufacturing jobs.

“Lightweight plastics help automakers build safer, more fuel-efficient cars and are essential to creating our nation’s low-carbon infrastructure,” said Joshua Baca, vice president for plastics at the American Chemistry Council. “Targeted funding for these lightweight technologies will spur innovation, helping drive down greenhouse gas emissions and increasing circularity in our vehicles. Effective lightweight materials can also have the benefit of increasing fuel-economy.”

The bill’s Report notes that transportation accounts for 30% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States. “The Committee encourages NHTSA, in conjunction with EPA, to set a higher federal fuel economy standard as a part of a shift towards electrification of the motor vehicle fleet,” which would require additional light-weighting and electric vehicle technologies that increase range and efficiencies, many of which are enabled by plastics. 

As part of today’s House appropriations package as well, the Fiscal Year 2022 Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee report includes significant funding to support lower-carbon vehicles and to drive development of new technologies that use lightweight materials. The report includes a combined $480 million for electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicle deployment, battery manufacturing and recycling, and sustainable automotive plastics recovery and recycling.  

“We applaud the direction Congress is headed in creating a more resilient U.S. infrastructure,” Baca said. “Our nation will continue to rely on plastics and polymer composites to improve auto safety, enable low-carbon innovations, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our cars and trucks.”

Added Baca, “We thank House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Kaptur and Ranking Member Mike Simpson, and House Transportation, House and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Price and Ranking Member Mario Diaz-Balart for their continued support on these important issues.”

Lastly, as part of current Senate consideration of the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” ACC has long supported robust funding, as much as $7.5B, to help build out the electric vehicle charging infrastructure, as well as significant funding to encourage auto components that can reduce vehicle weight and improve safety.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the multibillion-dollar business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products, technologies and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health, safety and security performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy addressing major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. ACC members and chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development, and are advancing products, processes and technologies to address climate change, enhance air and water quality, and progress toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

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