Automakers are striving to meet strenuous mileage goals. It’s the rat race of cars, each automaker striving to make the most fuel efficient model on the market. Now, according to the Wall Street Journal, they may have found a quicker way of getting there.
Autos have predominately been made of steel the past century. However, Obama’s administration has imposed significant benchmarks for auto makers. The average fuel economy must improve from the current 27.5 mpg to 37.8 mpg by 2016, with the larger goal of 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025. To achieve this standard, fuel economy for cars would have to increase by approximately five percent every year.
As part of the initiative, manufacturers are looking to cut weight by substituting more plastics, aluminum, and magnesium. Once only found in high-end race cars, manufacturers are looking to improve mpg by cutting the excess pounds wherever possible.
Currently there are few vehicles available with the fusion of lightweight materials. The Ford Explorer, for example currently has a magnesium tailgate. The new Chevrolet Corvette has an aluminum underbody and hood and roof made of carbon-fiber composite.
Shaving weight is one strategy automakers are employing to reach the high fuel standards set by the government. Europe has set limits on carbon-dioxide emissions that impose similar fuel-economy targets. The new estimates would save American families $8,000 in fuel bills over the life of the vehicle. But while in the long run the costs could be beneficial, many of the new fuel-efficient, lightweight models would be too high for many families to afford to begin with.
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