Just when you thought you'd heard it all: car part manufacturers are now looking for weight savings in wheel design- heck- they're looking for weight savings where ever that may be!

According to an MLive.com article, Lacks Wheel Trim Systems LLC has developed a new lightweight automotive wheel that can improve fuel mileage.

Lacks executives said their tests show the wheel, which will be manufactured at Lacks’ factory in Kentwood, can improve gas mileage by 1.1 miles per gallon on the highway and .4 miles per gallon in city driving.

“The Lacks eVOLVE wheel technology provides a direct answer to helping automakers meet increasingly stringent federal fuel efficiency standards,” said James Ardern, director of business development, Lacks Wheel Trim Systems.

The new wheel system features a high-strength metal backbone that is enclosed by a lightweight metal composite, Ardern said.

While a 17-inch production wheel for a Ford Focus weighs 23.7 pounds, a similar eVOLVE wheels weighs 4.5 pounds less, or 19.2 pounds, Ardern said. That’s 18 pounds less of “unsprung” weight per vehicle, he said.

Additionally, the lightweight material allows engineers to design a more aerodynamic wheel to help improve gas mileage, Ardern said.

So while manufacturers have built new more fuel efficient engines, they've also been looking anywhere else on the vehicle to achieve weight savings- even by removing spare tires.