A need to improve fuel economy, among other changes in new vehicles, is turning spare tires into a real fifth wheel of modern cars. One many manufacturers are leaving out.
Starting this year, automakers have to achieve a fleet fuel average of 29.7 miles per gallon of gasoline, rising to 34.1 mpg by 2016. In the process of getting cars and light duty trucks to consume less gas, many automakers are cutting weight. Many, for example, are using lighter plastics in dashboards and eco-friendly foams, rather than heavier types in previous years.
“They’re doing all kinds of things to improve gas mileage,” said Bill Chamberlain, director of marketing and fleet sales at Fritts Ford in Riverside. “Cars are getting lighter in every way possible to meet that goal.”
For drivers, the most noticeable change might be ditching spare tires.