WASHINGTON -- When it comes to technologies used to clean up vehicle emissions, glass and paint might not be the first things that come to mind.
But if they reflect rather than absorb the sun's infrared rays, a vehicle can stay cooler on a hot summer day. That means the air conditioner can work less, which in turn uses less energy from the vehicle's fuel-burning engine.
That's the general idea behind the latest round of requests for "off-cycle" emission credits made by Ford, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors under the EPA's program to reduce tailpipe emissions.
FCA's application seeks off-cycle credits for glass and paint that reflect solar rays, for ventilated seats and for LED lights that use less energy than conventional bulbs. Ford seeks credits for those technologies, as well as for active grille shutters that close at high speeds to improve aerodynamics, engine stop-start systems and technologies that warm engines and transmissions more efficiently.
GM has requested credits for using a more-efficient air conditioner compressor from Denso that it debuted on the 2013 Cadillac ATS and has since added to all full-size trucks, including the Chevrolet Silverado.
The requests, which await EPA approval, highlight some of the many tools automakers can use to comply with the agency's regulations that seek to cut fleetwide carbon dioxide emissions in half by the 2025 model year from 2012 model year levels, the equivalent of achieving a fleetwide average of 54.5 mpg, and the flexibility that's built into the tougher standards.