Automakers would dearly love to shed the weight, cost and bulk of full-sized or mini spare tires, and it's starting to look like they've found a preferred alternative: tire repair kits.
According to Edmunds.com, 70 car models sold in the United States in the 2012 model year were equipped with tire repair kits, up from 23 in 2009.
"It's getting harder and harder for automakers to meet fuel economy regulations," says Ronald Montoya, an editor at Edmunds.com. "They are doing everything they can to take weight out of the car, and the spare tire is one of the easier targets."
There's just one problem: It's not clear whether motorists are willing to give up the spare.
Both Ford Motor Co. and General Motors have introduced tire repair kits, only to restore the spare on some models to mollify car buyers.