Why spare tires may soon fall prey to better fuel efficiency

Once upon a time, all vehicles came with a spare tire. Be it a donut or a full-size spare, vehicles left the assembly line ready to tackle the U.S.' potholed-roads. Now, most vehicles come with either run-flat tires or some sort of tire inflation system, similar to the Chevy Cruze Eco's inflator pictured above.

Why no spare tire? Well, it all boils down to weight and interior space. As automakers race to increase the fuel economy ratings of their vehicles, every ounce counts and a spare tire can weight anywhere between 20 to 40 pounds. Of course, a spare tire also robs a vehicle of either interior or cargo room and since today's batch of hybrids and plug-ins are often built on existing vehicle platforms, space is at a premium.

While this means that spare tires are not likely to be found in plug-in vehicles, it also means that many fuel-efficient autos will forego the spare to reduce fuel consumption. And with the automotive industry so focused on increasing fuel economy ratings, we won't be surprised if the spare tire soon goes extinct.

[Source: Gas 2.0]

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