Today, rubber components found on cars are synthetic, which means they're made from petroleum. But Ford is currently working on a way to not only make these components from a sustainable source, but to also eliminate a pesky weed in the process.
Ford's engineers have developed a potential petroleum-rubber replacement that's made from the common dandelion. The milky white substance created from the plant could potentially be used in cup holders, floor mats, and interior trim pieces, to name a few applications. And since the dandelions would be sourced locally, this also cuts down on shipping costs.
However, one researcher notes that, while moves like this are good, they don't really solve the biggest issue with automotive pollution.
"Only about 10 to 20 percent of the emissions are tied up in manufacturing," clean vehicles researcher Jim Kliesch told the New York Times. "So that leaves 80 to 90 percent to operating the vehicle and creating the fuel. What Ford is doing is admirable, but at the same time it'd make a lot more sense to improve the overall efficiency of their fleet."