Overweight Drivers Use a Billion More Gallons of Gas

Obeseguy

You read that headline right. Americans’ ever-expanding beltlines are translating to nearly an additional one billion gallons of gas a year, according to a recent study. How can this be? The University of Illinois study says that from 1960 to 2002, the added weight from larger drivers and passengers has impacted gas mileage, to the point where drivers in 2002 used 938 million more gallons of gas than drivers in 1960. The average weight of American has increased 24 pounds from the 1960s to 2002. The study only tackled cars and light trucks used for non-commercial use. Those 938 million gallons of gas could fuel 1.7 million cars for an entire year. Enjoy your donut.

[Americans' Spare Tires Take Toll at Gas Pump, Study Says, Chicago Tribune – registration required]

By David Thomas | October 25, 2006 | Comments (11)
Tags: Pop Culture

Comments 

Angus

Now I understand why airlines have been removing all the airphones from planes. All that extra weight really makes a difference in fuel consumption.

Now if we could just Americans to burn a little more of the magical fuel known as calories. Maybe if we weren't so supersized, we wouldn't NEED giant SUVs to cradle our ample butts.

I HATE TO SAY WHY AMERICA ALWAYS NEEDS TO GROW IN SIZE BUT ITS SOLEY TRUE. FROM THE FOOD PORTIONS AND THEIR CARS UPGRADING SUPERSIZED. WEIGHT IS A DETRIMENT WITH A CARS MILEAGE. WE GOTTA DRINK THAT WATER AND MISS MOMMA'S HOME COOKING. WORK IT OUT!

Paul

Isnt it sad when a 4000-6000 lb vehicle's gas mileage is effected by an added load of 50-100lbs? So this means motor vehicles were not designed for carrying more than one person (sorry you 3rd row seater SUVs and 1 ton Vans out there) or any cargo in the trunks.I bet the gas mileage of 1960s musclecars were not effected by an extra 50 or so pounds...how could a 3600 lb car with a 360hp engine ever feel an extra 50lbs? I guess vehicles just cant pull any weight anymore....
My,how has technology evolved....

Lil'Tom

Paul, that's not the way the laws of physics work. Any increases in mass that has to be accelerated will require an increased amount of work; whether by '69 GTX, '07 Explorer, elephant, or space shuttle. Modern engines are much more efficient than the engines of the sixties so those muscle cars would be wasting even more gas moving the extra weight.

sum dude

Cars wont feel an extra 50 to 100 pounds, but they will feel above 300 pounds.

The whole point is ridiculous. If buy 400 gallons of gas drive a 3000 lb., 30 mpg car 12,000 miles a year, then the extra 24 lb of fat increases your consumption by 3 gallons of gas per year. Multiply that number by 100 million cars and 3 people per car, and you have 1 billion gallons per year. Now just imagine adding the 500 lb of Safety, Emissions, and other Regulatory equipment added to cars since 1960, and you have 22 billion gallons per year or enough to drive 37 million cars for a year. The message is simple – don’t let ignorant journalists near a calculator.

M3

Very good point by previous poster. Our cars today are a LOT heavier than comparable cars from years ago. All the mandatory safety gear plus all the comfort and convenience features today's buyers demand make our CARS fat, which is a lot worse than fat DRIVERS. Heavy vehicle weight will always drag down fuel economy.

Dave Marquart

Let's think about cars from the 50's that were geared so low that with a 3-speed stick you could easily take off in 2nd gear. So your saying that a car geared like that would notice 24#? This vehicle is geared so low it wouldn't notice it if you pulled a semi load of freight!

Lil'Tom

Anyone who believes they know a way of transporting matter without using energy might want to contact the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences about pinking up their Nobel Prize.

The extra fuel needed to move an extra 24 pounds may not be perceptible, but when multiplied by the millions of cars on the road the weight adds up.

yeah - lets remember those cars of the fifties where the windows were hand cranked, the transmission was a manual, steering was manual, and brakes were manual. You physically had to work harder to drive them, as well as walk around to unlock the passenger doors (or get a good stretch-out reaching across the interior) and actually get your butt out of the seat to open the trunk! Bring back cars that make you work for your fun! The pounds will melt off as you parallel park that beastie, and you won't have the breath to waste on the cellphone! Cars need to be hands-on, not hands-free, and definitely not controlled by a joy-stick!

Herb

Hey moron...did it occur to you that there are tens of thousands more people on the road in those 42 years?

Enjoy your veggiburger!

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