Can LEDs really save gas?

We just came across this piece in The Detroit Free Press that talks about automotive light technology. It's a fairly lengthy but interesting look at how lights are developed and tested. It might seem like a rather mundane subject, but when you consider how important headlights and other lights are to motoring and motor safety, it makes for a good read. But for those who don't have the time right now, and let's face it, that's why most of you get your news from us in the first place, it tells of Ford's new light lab that allows the company to replicate just about any lighting condition on earth. From bright sunlight to pitch black, they use 5,000 watts of bulbs to duplicate any lighting conditions a driver might encounter. Then they put their own automotive lighting to the test to see how effective it is.
Besides the obvious visual performance of the lights, the automaker is also testing the efficiency of the elements. Seriously, they are looking at how new lights like LEDs can impact fuel economy and overall vehicle performance. As much as 5% of fuel consumption goes into powering a car's lights according to Mahendra Dassanayake, one of the senior staff technology specialists at the Dearborn facility. More efficient lighting equals more effcicient cars and trucks. The rest of the article goes on to show how GM and Chrysler as well as others are recognizing the benefits of LEDs and how their benefits are far-reaching. We encourage you to click over and read the whole article. While we've talked about "smart" headlights and innovative brake lights recently, we really have never thought about how these lights effect economy.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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