Plastics make things possible, or so say the major plastic manufacturing companies in their ads. It turns out that there's some truth to the tagline, as automakers are increasing the amount of plastic parts in vehicles in an attempt to reduce weight and emissions. While many consider steel to be the most desirable material to pound out automobiles, the use of plastic is outgunning metals pound for pound on new cars. Even luxury brands like BMW and Porsche are using more plastics in their vehicles than ever before, and both see the trend continuing. Composites such as carbon fiber and kevlar prove that plastics can perform just as well as steel when properly designed and engineered.

Despite the overall goal of reducing weight and cutting vehicle emissions, most plastics still trace their roots to petroleum. Automakers such as Mazda and Mitsubishi are experimenting with bioplastics, which are made from natural ingredients such as sugars.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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