Could we make cars out of petroleum residue?

As the world struggles to improve the efficiency of cars and other vehicles in order to curb greenhouse gas emissions and improve the range of electric vehicles, the search is on for ever-lighter materials that are strong enough to be used in the bodies of cars.

Lightweight materials made from carbon fiber, similar to the material used for some tennis rackets and bicycles, combine exceptional strength with low weight, but these have been more expensive to produce than comparable structural elements made of steel or aluminum. Now, researchers at MIT and elsewhere have come up with a way of making …
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