Products that go farther

Road trips. What could be more relaxing than taking a family vacation that includes a 16 hour drive to a national park? The radio is blaring, the golden arches are tempting your well-fed, but bored kids every two miles, and your dismay grows as you watch the gas gauge on your SUV rapidly head toward “E” after you just stopped to fill up. Before your blood pressure rises, take heart.  Good news is just ahead for both you and Chevron Phillips Chemical!

The recent signing by President Bush of U.S. House Resolution 6, otherwise known as the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 could mean less pit stops for you and more opportunities for the company. The resolution mandates an increase in federal fuel efficiency standards to 35 miles per gallon (mpg), up from 27.5 mpg for cars and 22.2 mpg for trucks and SUVs, by 2020.

This efficiency improvement means that automakers around the world will be looking for ways to modify existing engine technologies as well as lighten the weight of the average vehicle. As a major provider of plastic resins for the automotive industry, Chevron Phillips Chemical is up to the challenge.

For many years the sales and technical teams for Marlex® polyethylene, Marlex® polypropylene, Ryton® PPS, and Xtel® PPS alloys have worked diligently to promote the use of plastics in automobiles. Their success can be found under the hood in parts such as alternator cooling covers, brake reservoirs, coolant components, and fuel pumps. Our resins are also used in and around your car in bumpers, door panels, instrument panels, lighting, fuel tanks, and countless other applications.

Using our plastics can significantly reduce the weight of parts. For example, by using Ryton® PPS with nitrogen gas assist to make the cooling tubes on the new Ford F350 diesel engines, the weight of the component was reduced by 48 percent. Additionally, polyethylene fuel tanks weigh up to 30 percent less than comparable steel tanks.

When lightening a car’s weight, it is imperative for manufacturers to preserve or enhance the safety of the vehicle. The same polyethylene fuel tanks are also safer because they are not a source of sparks during collisions and deform and regain their original shape, absorbing any shock occurring from impact.

The use of polypropylene can also enhance vehicle safety. As a replacement for more expensive engineering resins, polypropylene offers outstanding energy absorption. In fact, high-impact polypropylene, because of its crush and collapse shock-absorbing properties, is used by automakers to achieve higher vehicle crash-test safety ratings.

Plastic products not only lighten the weight of a vehicle, but in many cases, they also reduce the number of separate parts. Due to the versatility of plastics, complex parts can be molded as one unit rather than multiple pieces then requiring assembly.  When designing the Ford 500, automotive engineers designed a part with nine sealing joints to integrate the thermostat housing and water pump, which in turn would allow the part to fit in the small packaging space. Ryton® PPS offered the required toughness and the ability to successfully meet the complex part’s tight molding tolerances.

In addition to using Chevron Phillips Chemical’s products to mold automotive parts, our polyalphaolefins (PAOs) can also be used as engine lubricants to improve fuel efficiency. The high film strength of our PAOs improves combustion to create more power, better fuel economy and reduced emissions in vehicles.

As the date approaches for more fuel efficient vehicles, Chevron Phillips Chemical is dedicated to helping automakers achieve these goals through the use of our products. Now if they could just keep the kids from whining...