Probably by quite a lot. A car, even a medium sized one like my Jeep, will weigh around 4,200 lbs. If we use lighter materials, however, the safety of the car will be greatly lowered. For instance, my car has been in several accidents during its life, but has come out the victor, as they other cars (which got pretty torn up) were all light metals and plastics whereas mine is made of steel.
If we forget the issues of safety for a bit, however, we can compare my mother’s car, a lightweight Nissan Versa, 4 cylinder, average 30 mpg, to my Jeep Cherokee, 6 cylinder, average 17 mpg. There are other factors of course, but having a smaller car will reduce drag and reduce the amount of power you need to move it, which can make quite a difference. If we take it a step further and compare to the new Chevy Volt, 3 cylinder, 50-150 mpg, we see that weight may not make a difference, as the Volt and the Versa weigh around the same, but the Volt simply has a better engine.
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