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Americans have gained weight over the last thirty years, and not just around the midsection. American garages and driveways have also put on pounds as cars have become larger and more powerful. A new study from MIT says that, if not for the increase in vehicle weight, we could already be exceeding vehicle mileage targets still years away.

Engineers at Ford have taken inspiration from Nestle's Aero chocolate bar to produce lightweight MuCell (aka microcellular plastic foam) plastic parts by injecting them with gas bubbles during the manufacturing process. The injection of gas creates a honeycomb structure with a cross-section that closely resembles that of the tasty sweet and, more important, the bubbles mean that less plastic is required. Ford says that the MuCell plastic – thanks to its reduced weight – improves fuel

Over the last decade, compact cars have ballooned in size. How much? On average, compact cars sold in the U.S. are 549 pounds heavier and sit on a wheelbase that's 6.4 inches longer than those sold here ten years ago, according to analysis by Edmunds.com. With that added weight comes the need for more power and today's compacts pack an average of 64 more tire-spinning horses than those built a decade ago. Edmunds' AutoObserver senior editor, Bill Visnic, explained the reasons for the inflated co

Ford Fiesta in NYC – Click above for high-res image gallery

With fuel prices ever creeping northwards you'd think the automakers would start slowing down on upping the size of their new models. Unfortunately, the notion of 'less is more' isn't the case when it comes to building and selling new cars. The belief in the auto industry is that consumers view bigger as better, a problem that's increasingly being associated with vehicles not normally regarded as being large.