Automotive Product Stewardship Roadmap

Auto Gears

Environmental policy on automobiles has traditionally focused on fuel efficiency and end-of-pipe emissions rather than considering the impacts and issues surrounding the automobile as a product. ¬†Each year in the U.S., 10 to 11 million vehicles reach the end of their useful lives and are taken out of service. In addition, there are 250,851,833 registered passenger vehicles in the U.S. (2006 DOT study) with an average weight of 3,180 pounds for a small car. The environmental impacts are enormous. A greater understanding of these issues requires attention to the materials and toxicity impacts of automobiles at each stage of the product lifecycle. EPA Region 10 contracted with Full Circle to facilitate, interview and convene public and private stakeholders from throughout a vehicle’s lifecycle — from car makers to steel mills — to identify intervention points for reducing environmental impact. Full Circle guided the group toward identification of five priority action areas, and associated next steps:

  • Environmentally Responsible Purchasing of Automobiles, Auto Service & Repair, and EOL Management
  • Address Shredder Residue Issues
  • Automobile Use, Maintenance and Repair: Wear Parts, Liquids and Waste
  • Evaluate and Address Regulatory Option and Barriers
  • Increase communication and information dissemination