This article provides an overview of cost analysis in materials selection. It discusses the several categories of alternatives for cost analysis. These include rules of thumb, accounting methods, and analytical methods. The article describes the methods for evaluating materials alternatives on the basis of costs, both direct economic costs and indirect social costs. It discusses the life cycle costs of alternative body-in-white designs and life cycle analysis.The various elements of cost are introduced with a case study concerned with the manufacture, use, and disposal of the automobile body-in-white.