Overweight And Obese US Drivers Burn A Billion+ Extra Gallons Of Gasoline Per Year


GM's After-Volt, "OW" Prototype, Flint MI R&D; Center. Image credit:Tuning Fever, Flintstones Car

Gasoline consumption associated with moving the extra weight carried by US citizen drivers and passengers was estimated with a fairly sophisticated-looking math model, making comparison to population characteristics of the 1960's.

In 2006, Jacobson and McLay found cars and light trucks consumed up to 938 million additional gallons of fuel each year as a result of average weight gain that had occurred since the 1960s. In the new study, Jacobson and King found the amount of additional fuel had jumped by nearly 200 million gallons, to 1.137 billion gallons a year, an increase of about 21 percent.
Via:Wellness, Obesity increases gasoline consumption

The paper, as published in Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, includes some amazing facts in the abstract. See below for details.

The mathematical model presented in this paper estimates that as many as one billion additional gallons of gasoline are consumed each year due to overweight and obesity in the US, accounting for up to 0.8% of the fuel consumed by these vehicles annually. This additional fuel consumption causes carbon dioxide emissions of up to 20 billion pounds or more, accounting for up to 0.5% of the annual carbon dioxide emissions in the transportation sector.
Via:Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, Measuring the potential for automobile fuel savings in the US: The impact of obesity

The good news is that GM execs are all over this story and, with the aid of our bail-out money, have begun final prototype work on a car to satisfy all the weight-loss New Year's resolutions.

The flex fuel prototype (pictured, above), in which both passenger and driver can take turns beating feet, is reported to get especially good mileage.

The carbon offset business also sees an opportunity in selling to the 'spare tire' market that may stem from a Cap & Trade regime in 2009.

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