I can see both sides of this, and at least for those who want to carry a jack and spare, that can be done.
The weight savings really does increase gas mileage in combination with all the other weight saving measures the automakers undertake.
According to TireRack, 85% of all spares and jacks end up with the car in the junkyard having never been used. That is a waste of resources, money and was just dead weight and space used up.
In many cases it's not safe to change a tire on the side of the road. I don't know the statistics, but certainly some have been killed.
Tires are much better than in the past, and the rate at which flats occur has probably gone down. Personally, it's been over 30 years since I have had to change a flat on the road. Some flats can be resolved temporarily with the on board compressor and goop too.
Automakers and dealers have to compete for our business. If they don't have to pass on the cost of a spare and jack, in a competitive environment, that savings will be reflected in the price. I don't think the automakers and dealers have all seen their profit margins go up by the amount saved on the tire and jack.
I'll take my chances with roadside assistance and AAA. Also we have snow tires on rims that can be used as spares if needed, and I have a floor jack.
And we never take long trips in our Volt or Cruze, both which lack spares. For long distances we fly, and rent a car. If we get a flat in the rental car, Hertz can deal with it.
Another factor to consider if putting a spare tire in the Volt, is making sure it does not become a dangerous projectile in the event of a crash. For vehicles that do come with a spare in the trunk, Federal standards require that it remain secure in a frontal crash up to 30 mph. So I would at least want to meet that standard. It makes no sense to solve one problem while creating a new more dangerous one.
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