When people think of dependence on petroleum, they usually think of cars. But it’s not just that internal combustion engine that’s sucking down the oil. Plastic production is a huge consumer of petroleum products and, as we know, there’s a lot of plastic in cars.
Engineers at Ford have been looking for alternatives to petroleum in their materials for years. How about a coin tray that’s actually made of money? One thing being investigated is how retired currency can be shredded and reconstituted into a plastic-like material for trays and fixtures in a car cabin. You may not be made of money, but soon your car may be.
Currently, all of the seat cushions in Ford cars built in North America are made from soybeans. It took some time to get things right (like getting rid of the of the cooking oil smell) but now they’ve got foam pads that get the job done and without any petroleum. They also recycle plastic bottles for the plastic shells of the seats in the Focus Electric vehicle and are studying part of the Russian dandelion as a possible replacement for synthetic rubber.
So, even if you’re not driving an electric or hybrid, your car may be greener than you thought.