DETROIT - The need to meet the new federal fuel economy standards has required automakers to work toward decreasing vehicle mass. One way to do so has been to develop new lightweight materials. Among them is advanced high-strength steel (AHSS).

According to the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), these new grades of AHSS outperform competing materials for current and future automotive applications, and are the fastest growing materials in automotive applications. There are more than 20 grades of AHSS available that are three to five times stronger than the AHSS available when it was first introduced in the mid-1990s.

In addition to being stronger and lighter, AHSS do not add any significant additional costs to manufacture and reduces lifecycle emissions.

According to the SMDI, many alternative materials generate emissions during their manufacture that are five to 20 times greater than those of steel. AHSS also has inherent recyclability that adds to its benefit as a vehicle material.