For the major automakers, when it comes to being green, it’s not just about how much fuel a car consumes or the emissions levels coming out of a tailpipe. Instead, we’re seeing companies take a more holistic approach to environmental protection with entire operation lines being made greener. This includes everything from how the power being used to run factories is generated to the renewability of materials that go into production.

Ford is one of the leaders in this field, announcing this week that it has developed a patent-pending formula to use renewable soy oil to improve rubber car parts and make them more environmentally friendly.

The formula Ford has developed calls for the use of renewable soy oil as replacement for petroleum oil in the development of rubber. According to the automaker, the greener rubber is more stretchable than regular petroleum-based material and it’s also more environmentally friendly.

Areas where rubber is used extensively on cars include radiator deflector shields, air baffles, cupholder inserts and floor mats.

Soy-based oils are proving to be a venerable gold mine for automakers as not only can it be used as a replacement fuel source but it can also be used to create foam for seats and even be synthesized into a material resembling leather. Additionally, the use of soy content in automotive applications also supports American farmers, which is always a good thing.

[Ford]