With federal fuel economy standards set to require vehicle manufacturers to get an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, auto manufacturers are looking for ways to slash the weight of their vehicles.
Studies show that every ten-percent reduction in vehicle weight can improve gas mileage by six to eight percent.
With this in mind, carmakers are increasingly replacing the steel that has traditionally been the primary metal used to make cars with aluminum and other lightweight materials. In addition to lighter, high-strength steel, aluminum, plastic, and composite materials, carbon fiber is also being used for selected body panels. Through the use of advanced engineering and better impact-absorption ability, these materials can be just as strong as heavier steel.
TIP: While a traditional spare tire can weigh anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds, lighter weight, doughnut-sized spares and tire-sealant kits slash pounds from new car weight.
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