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The Fuel Cost of Obesity

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the 20-miles-per-cheeseburger dept.

Transportation 285

thecarchik writes "America loves to complain about gas mileage and the cost of gasoline. As it turns out, part of the problem is us. How much does it really matter? A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 1.1 percent increase in self-reported obesity, which translates into extra weight that your vehicle has to haul around. The study estimates that 1 billion extra gallons of fuel were needed to compensate for passenger weight gained between 1960 and 2002."

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What's the cost of you sucking kdawson's fat cock? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33242794)

I'm sure you don't charge, but there has to be a hidden cost somewhere.

Re:What's the cost of you sucking kdawson's fat co (0, Troll)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243108)

Gonorrhea.

mo' money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33242802)

So does this mean I can tell fat people that my wallet is fatter than theirs?

first post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33242804)

lets make a program to make all those people pull their cars instead :)

Less than one percent... (4, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#33242812)

One key finding was that almost 1 billion gallons of gasoline per year can be attributed to passenger weight gain in non-commercial vehicles between 1960 and 2002--this translates to .7 percent of the total fuel used by passenger vehicles annually.

So they found it had nearly nothing to do with it. Spiffy.

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33242858)

How do they know it's passenger weight gain? Cars got heavier between 1960 and 1974, then the rise of SUVs and minivans from about 1985 on.

Re:Less than one percent... (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#33242950)

before SUV's and mini vans we had station wagons and muscle cars. generally cars are a lot more efficient today. my 4 cylinder 2009 Accord has as much horse power as my old 1992 V8 firebird. and it has a lot more electric gizmos for pollution control as well as comfort

Re:Less than one percent... (2, Informative)

rgviza (1303161) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243840)

My 2007 mustang GT got 31mpg on the highway and has 300hp. Back in 1970 a 300hp mustang required 458 cubic inches and got 12mpg.

Re:Less than one percent... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243004)

Not to mention lots of people haul around tons of useless junk in their trunks (no pun intended) that adds to vehicle weight, as well as the assumption that more people drive alone nowadays as opposed to carpooling.

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243352)

There was a time (in the days before front wheel drive, traction control, and modern suspension design) when people in northern climes used to drive around with a couple hundred pounds of sand or gravel in theirs trunks (read: over the drive wheels) for six months of the year.

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243466)

Some of us still do, at least over the back wheels where there's little weight left any more because we bought a lightweight efficient car. Nothing says "this is gonna suck" like the back end sliding out on you.

Of course, many of us put it onboard only when snow is actually forecast, to save the loss of efficiency when there's no purpose served by it. ;)

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243668)

Personally theres always at least an extra 400 lbs of something in the back of my truck. I didn't buy a big gas guzzler but I did buy it to do work, however the rear end is as light as a feather even though its rear wheel drive and it slides out all the damned time, so I leave a few buckets of sand in the back right over the axle all the time. Its just as bad on dirt roads as on snow and over half the roads I use regularly are dirt roads so tis needed.

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243610)

A lot of us still do that here in Canada. Even with a FWD vehicle (my car lacks anti-lock brakes, nevermind traction control), you can still wind up with an unpleasant oversteer on icy roads.

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243906)

I know I have a bunch of crap in my truck.

Tool box - thats like 100 pounds
5,000 pound jack (2)
30 foot log chain
Full sized spare tire
Enclosure and speakers
Tire iron (2)
50 pound sand bag (4)

Re:Less than one percent... (2, Informative)

magarity (164372) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243232)

How do they know it's passenger weight gain? Cars got heavier between 1960 and 1974
 
The car itself doesn't matter. If you're committed to taking car X then the increase in car X's load between a fat passenger and a thin passenger increases the load and thus the fuel use. That a heavier car uses more fuel than a lighter car is not the comparison. A heavier passenger in a heavy car still uses more fuel than a light passenger in a heavy car.

Re:Less than one percent... (4, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243362)

We probably don't. Any round number like that is suspicious to start with.

However, your observation does lead to a good point. Extra vehicle weight, and other factors, do affect fuel mileage.

Every pound you add to your vehicle (whether it be lard or steel) reduces your fuel mileage by some small percentage (especially in city driving). Every item you add to your vehicle that interferes with the smooth flow of air around your vehicle also has the same effect, including roof racks, etc (especially in highway driving). Fast starts and heavy acceleration also have a significant effect, as does driving very fast (these two often add to maintenance costs, as well, and apply to both city AND highway).

These "little things" have a way of adding up to a measurable amount of money at the end of the year.

To keep the math easy, take a 20MPG pickup with $2/gallon fuel. That's ten cents a mile for fuel. If you drive 10,000 miles a year, fuel for that vehicle will cost you $1,000.

For every 10% (2MPG) increase or decrease, you are looking at an approximate additional expense or savings of $100 per year. So adding those cargo racks to the back of the truck just cost you the cost of the racks, plus $50-100 a year as an ongoing expense in lost fuel. If you don't need them, take them off. Or spend a few bucks on the ones that fold down out of the way.

Carrying around 200 pounds of bricks in your trunk for a month when it never snowed at all just cost you $5, which you could have saved by removing them until snow was forecast. Putting your studded snow tires on two months before it started snowing cost you $10 and made you put a couple thousand miles of wear on a set of studded snows that are a lot more expensive per mile than regular tires.

Racing off the line to beat the other guy in the shinier car to the merge cost you a between a dime and a half a dollar.

You saved $100 on a set of tires, but are annoyed because they are a tad noisier than you had hoped for. Guess what? That noise probably means the tires have higher rolling resistance, and over the 30,000 mile lifetime of those tires you'll end up spending $200 more in fuel to run them. Run them underinflated for a while and they'll wear out faster and cost you even more fuel.

Each of these things cost you money. Money you could use to buy other things if you wanted to.

Whether you choose to spend it on them is, of course, your decision. But it's a good idea to think about them.

Think about that the next time you are first in line at a red light, the lane merges ahead, and you've got some dude in a fancy car who wants to play. Do you want to be first? Glue a quarter on the dashboard near the redline indicator to remind you that it costs money. Spend it if you want, but be aware you are spending it.

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243816)

...and what TFA very quickly mentioned about the study is - also trying to determine how much of this car size increase is due to drivers not fitting comfortably into smaller ones (with the only photo in TFA touching on just that)

Re:Less than one percent... (2, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#33242990)

Nearly nothing, lets make that next to nothing, or completely negligable seeing how more fuel is used annually to run to the store for a newspaper or a soda or single under $10 items that aren't even close to being a necessity then the total passenger weight gain in non-commercial vehicles over the course of 42 years.

There was a study a while back which said that if people could purchase junk food when they purchased their groceries or gas or whatever other reason they needed to be at a store, we could cut something like 15% of our annual fuel usage. Of course I can't find a link to the article on it, but it was about consolidating trips to the store to save on fuel expenses.

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243078)

There was a study a while back which said that if people could purchase junk food when they purchased their groceries or gas or whatever other reason they needed to be at a store, we could cut something like 15% of our annual fuel usage. Of course I can't find a link to the article on it, but it was about consolidating trips to the store to save on fuel expenses.

What luck! This is what I'm always doing on grocery day. And I thought I was being lazy. Now I know I'm being GREEN! :D

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243662)

Intriguing.

This may explain why a lot of convenience stores now have partnerships with fast food places. Stop for fuel, get "supper", pick up your paper, etc. I wonder if there is a market for combining trips even further.

I wonder how much fuel would be saved by simply asking McDonald's to sell newspapers at the drive-through, though that does lead to an interesting discussion of the overlap between people who eat McDonalds on a regular basis and the people who read the newspaper on a regular basis. But I'm sure there are a good number of people who pick up their morning coffee at McD's then have to make a separate stop somewhere else to get the paper.

Re:Less than one percent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243940)

If you want more consolidation maybe more people should eat at cafeterias (or similar) to take advantage of efficiencies of scale and volume.

If say 100 people could eat at some place nearby we wouldn't have 100 people doing grocery shopping, storing that food in fridges and then cooking, washing up etc.

e.g. instead of:
ingredients -> warehouses->supermarket->home->food

You have:
ingredients ->warehouses->mass cafetaria->food

So you skip one step.

That said the energy costs would be higher if the eating place is far away, and you don't make that many trips to the supermarket, and you don't tend to waste as much food.

Re:Less than one percent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243124)

One key finding was that almost 1 billion gallons of gasoline per year can be attributed to passenger weight gain in non-commercial vehicles between 1960 and 2002

So, what about the increased fuel usage in commercial vehicles. More fatties means more food being transported around the country.

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243494)

One key finding was that almost 1 billion gallons of gasoline per year can be attributed to passenger weight gain in non-commercial vehicles between 1960 and 2002

So, what about the increased fuel usage in commercial vehicles. More fatties means more food being transported around the country.

Ah, but that's the rub!

You're absolutely correct, of course. Cargo trucks use a LOT more 'gas' than cars, and our eventual independence on foreign oil relies entirely on refitting/replacing the trucking industry with something non-oil.

The thing is, there seems to be a growing wave of 'fat is bad' in America today. My pet suspicion is that it is part of the back room deals made to sell Obamacare to the healthcare sector. Just a hunch. Anyway, these are the psychological journeys, side by side:

A) You are too fat, and you're costing yourself more in gas, so lose weight, fatty.

B) You are too fat, and you're making the trucks that haul food to your fat, waiting face use more gas.

In 'A' you might lose weight to gain better fuel economy. In 'B', less so.

Re:Less than one percent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243156)

They need to calculate the hidden costs:

If a person eats more => More food has to be transported => More Tractor Trailers => More Gas => Higher per-item cost to offset distribution expenses
Increased demand for fuel => Increased cost at the pump for everyone.

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243538)

Increased demand for fuel =>; Increased cost at the pump for everyone.

That part's not necessarily true. It depends on a lot of factors, and there are certainly situations where lower demand leads to higher cost, e.g. racing fuel.

Re:Less than one percent... (4, Insightful)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243496)

methinks the fuel that went into the growing, processing and shipping of all the extra food obese americans stuff down their pieholes is gonna account for a more substantive share than this.

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

Godskitchen (1017786) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243510)

1 billion gallons is "nothing"?

Re:Less than one percent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243626)

In context, and relatively speaking, yes.

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243646)

It's plenty, but when you compare it to U.S. energy consumption, it isn't particularly interesting.

Getting everybody to move their thermostat 1/2 degree towards the outdoor ambient would have a much larger impact on energy use.

Re:Less than one percent... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243746)

First, I specifically said, 'nearly nothing'. Second, do the math:

1,000,000,000 = .7%

100% = 142,857,142,857.14

Big numbers are fun.

How about (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#33242834)

offsetting this by the fuel savings coming from reduced family size. People simply have fewer children on average than they used to.

Wow you really can make numbers say anything you want. Remember that thanks to all the SUV's, the weight of the average car has increased since the 60's, not decreased as you would expect from losing the chassis and moving to a monocoque design.

But hey, let's bash fat people. How about that fat tax?

Re:How about (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33242954)

Remember that thanks to all the SUV's, the weight of the average car has increased since the 60's

And modern emission control systems. And modern sound reduction features. And modern safety features.

Why look at the whole picture though when you can just blame "those people" driving around in their SUVs?

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243320)

And modern emission control systems. And modern sound reduction features. And modern safety features.

And the huge engines they're putting in modern cars!

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33242956)

The fat tax? Hopefully coming to airlines soon. Sick of having peoples limbs on me.

Re:How about (5, Interesting)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243692)

I was on a flight recently, sitting in my window seat and getting settled while the plane was still loading, when a guy came trundling down the aisle who was around 6' tall and at least 300lbs+. Turns out he was my seatmate. It was only a short flight, so as he shoved his gear into the overhead I did my best to adopt a buddhist mindset and accept the fact there would be a little encroachment into my space for the next hour or so.

Turns out this guy wasn't happy with a little encroachment and he wanted to raise the armrest between our seats - said he can't fit comfortably between the armrests and needs to raise the middle one whenever he flies. I politely told him I'd be more comfortable with the armrest down and that I'm sure we'd be able to figure it out. He decided he needed to "stand his ground" and said there's no way he can sit - even for a short flight - with the armrest down. As more and more passengers lined up behind him (I was in seat 8A IIRC, on a plane with 24 or 25 rows), the flight attendant eventually got involved and asked what was going on. I stayed polite, but told her that I bought the same coach class seat as the other guy, and that I need to keep the armrest down for my own comfort and safety.

The FA told the guy he'd either have to sit in his assigned seat with the armrest between us down, or he could move to the last row of the plane and have 2 seats all to himself (she said the flight was "almost full but not quite"). You should have seen the glare this guy gave me as he took his bag back out of the overhead and trekked off down to the last row of the plane. Screw him - I paid for 1.0 seats. I'm willing to accept 0.9 but I'm not going to cheerfully smile and accept 0.6 for the next couple hours.

Re:How about (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33242986)

They do need larger (wider, most importantly) car to feel comfortable...so yeah, it's not only weight increses of passangers, also cars; perhaps partly because the average comfortable size lies somewhat higher.

Re:How about (2, Informative)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243498)

I ride a 600 pound motorcycle, so I use less gas than almost EVERY skinny person that drives their car to work alone. And I get to use the HOV lane, which means I'm not in stop-and-go traffic as often.

So suck my fat dick....

Re:How about (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243644)

Yeah, and I typically walk, use a bike or public transport...you were saying?

(that said, not that many motorcycles can beat my car, if I do have to / choose to use it, Fabia with an SDI engine)

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243920)

Lol, a Fabia with an SDI engine! YEES!

Guess my R1 341lbs 169hp bike cant win =(

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243818)

Do you really ride it, or do you perch hilariously on top of it?

Re:How about (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243684)

Citation? I'm not making any authoritative claims on the subject, but based on my personal observations most of the particularly heavy people I know drive smaller cars than my own. From what I've seen tall people are likely to want larger cars so they can get in and out more comfortably, but I haven't really noticed any correlation between car size and obesity.

Re:How about (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243916)

You want a citation to the self evident fact that "they do need larger (wider, most importantly) car to feel comfortable"?... (notice how I didn't say they actually have such cars; just wondered if it might be the reason for the trend, "perhaps partly because..")

And based on my personal observations it might work like that...so there (but then, I don't really see any " particularly heavy" people around)

Re:How about (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243298)

Remember that thanks to all the SUV's

No one buys SUVs anymore.

Re:How about (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243804)

No one buys SUVs anymore.

I know SUV sales have decreased... but my next-door neighbor just bought two matching Suburbans.

My neighbor across the street just bought an Escalade.

Plenty of people are still buying SUVs... and when the economy recovers, I think we'll see SUVs make a bigger comeback.

Re:How about (2, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243958)

Plenty of people are still buying SUVs... and when the economy recovers, I think we'll see SUVs make a bigger comeback.

Probably not. The *only* reason oil prices are low now ($70-$80/barrel) is because of the global recession. As soon as thinks pick back up, expect to see oil at $100/barrel *at least*.

Re:How about (1)

Kozz (7764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243674)

offsetting this by the fuel savings coming from reduced family size. People simply have fewer children on average than they used to.

Wow you really can make numbers say anything you want.

Indeed, you can! Gas mileage is asymptotic, right? This is why people carpool. If you calculate cost per person per mile, isn't it better to have a big family? Everyone travels cheaper!

In other news, advertisers love to say things like, "The more you buy, the more you save!"

Re:How about (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243784)

Thanking the NHTSA for ever-increasing safety requirements adding more and more weight to the vehicles?

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243814)

Yeah, screw the fatties.

Guess what I do everyone? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33242842)

I wash myself with this rag on a stick!

Re:Guess what I do everyone? (2, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243192)

Remember, if you rub your food on a piece of paper and it turns transparent? It's your window to success!

So? (2, Interesting)

joeflies (529536) | more than 4 years ago | (#33242908)

Although 1B gals sounds like a lot, consider that Wiki says the US alone used 138B of gas in 2006. So saving 1B gals over the course of 20 years globally is a relative drop in the bucket.

What someone needs to do is track the relative fuel cost based on the weight and number of vehicles over the years, and it should be come apparent that we should be driving motorcycles and lightweight double passenger cars rather than trying to wrap our minds about how human weight affects oil consumption.

Re:So? (3, Informative)

_LORAX_ (4790) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243098)

Bad summary. 1B gals/year is quotes in the article.

Re:So? (2, Funny)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243106)

From the TFA:

One key finding was that almost 1 billion gallons of gasoline per year can be attributed to passenger weight gain in non-commercial vehicles between 1960 and 2002--this translates to .7 percent of the total fuel used by passenger vehicles annually.

So it was actually 1 billion gallons per year, not total. Seems like the blog words it poorly and that they're really saying that if we were all the same weight as we were in 1960, we would have used 1 billion gallons less fuel last year than we actually did. But that is still only a 0.7% increase in yearly consumption.

More fun is this observation:

One other result of the obesity problem is the increase risk of crashes as noted in a recent study and that is also due to the fact that obese drivers are less likely to buckle up because seat belts may not fit properly.

So basically, fat people are looking for Darwin Awards. Now just make sure they are all distracted on their giant phones, and problem solved.

less than 3 gallons per person per year (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243234)

It would be nice if reporters did a better job of putting numbers into perspective.

Re:So? (1)

IDarkISwordI (811835) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243270)

They don't mean over the course of 20 years. They meant when comparing the year 2002 to the year 1960, an extra 1 billion gallons was needed to compensate for the increased weight of the passengers. Thats quit a bit and would mean that 12 billion gallons would have been burned in 2006 instead of 13 billion.

Re:So? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243616)

it should be come apparent that we should be driving motorcycles and lightweight double passenger cars rather than trying to wrap our minds about how human weight affects oil consumption.

Of course, you can only make that argument because somebody bothered to compute how much human weight affects fuel consumption. It is wrong to claim that a study was unjustified because it shows that further concern over some issue is unnecessary.

Airline costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33242916)

Tickets should be by total weight just like freight. 250lb total weight = x, 300lb = x+y%x, 350lb=x+2y%x That would be a better solution than the craptastic fees for everything

Re:Airline costs (1)

e065c8515d206cb0e190 (1785896) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243050)

Totally agree
If you're too big for a Mini you buy an Escalade. Same goes for airplane seats.

Remember... (2, Informative)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 4 years ago | (#33242928)

"Rule 1: Cardio. When the zombie outbreak first hit, the first to go, for obvious reasons... were the fatties."

Re:Remember... (2, Funny)

mmcxii (1707574) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243176)

You trust the advice of a jackass who's weapon of choice in the zombie apocalypse is a double barrel shotgun? Sheesh!

They see me (3, Funny)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 4 years ago | (#33242988)

ridin' Obese; they hatin'.

Excuse Me... (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 4 years ago | (#33242998)

Is that a fat joke?

Kind of a faggot report (-1, Troll)

parasite (14751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243022)

I mean... any fatass worth his big macs who thinks "oh gosh darn, I should up my gas mileage by losing weight" will quickly realize he can do even better by just empting the old books and other miscellaneous junk he's been hauling around in his trunk the past 3 years

Lets do a little math ... (2, Informative)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243070)

... but not quite enough. A typical car weighs 3000lbs. The article (ok, the summary -- I didn't read the article) doesn't say what the weight gain is, but let's assume the difference between "obese" and "not obese" is 30lbs. A typical car has a drag coefficient of .4. And we're driving 45mph. There's also an unknown amount of parasitic drag in the drivetrain.

The equation [wikimedia.org]

Ok, I don't have the time or inclination to figure this out. But I bet .7% is pretty high.

Re:Lets do a little math ... (2, Funny)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243388)

So, you're talking about wind resistance, which is independent of the mass of the object -- only dependent on speed, shape, and air characteristics. When cruising, your fuel consumption is dominated by this (unless you're hauling a heavy load up an incline).

The mass-dependent fuel consumption is going to be primarily in acceleration (and hills), so the dependence of fuel economy on weight depends on driving habits.

Of course, fuel economy depends much more strongly on driving habits than it does on weight. For that matter, it also depends on strongly on engine characteristics and vehicle shape and size.

If you really want to be snarky, you could probably claim that the additional fuel needed to haul around an obese person is more than offset by the fact that they don't drive to the gym.

Re:Lets do a little math ... (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243472)

The first section of TFA clarifies that they looked also at the size increase of cars / tried to determine the influence of obesity on the trend of buying larger ones. After all, what size of a car / seat is comfortable to you (and as far as I can tell, there's not really any gain in going above "yup, it's comfortable" level) is quite tightly related to your shape - the photo in TFA is quite telling.

They also touched on the increased risk of crashes - apparently not only because of car sizes, also because obese drivers are less likely to use seatblets (troubles with fitting them...)

So now we know. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243182)

The energy crisis is all the fault of McDonalds.

Re:So now we know. (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243860)

Actually, (and I know it's getting to be a tired excuse) I think that the sheer amount of corn products we consume has a lot to do with obesity rather than a specific company/brand/exercise regiment.

Reality Check (3, Insightful)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243186)

The study estimates that 1 billion extra gallons of fuel

Less than what the US could save by making sure their tires are properly inflated (1.25 billion [popularmechanics.com] ). let alone what we could save by cleaning out our trunks, removing our winter bags of sand, or other weight just sitting around in the car. Both are much easier than getting people to lose weight, but I doubt if they are getting done. Good luck on getting people to stop being obese to save an non-detectable part of their gas bill. For that matter, it would probably be easier just to appeal to get them to keep from diving as much (which if they walk or bike would also cut into the obese issue).

Re:Reality Check (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243408)

All of which are laughable compared to consolidating trips (or anything else that results in driving less), carpooling, and preferring to buy a more fuel-efficient car.

Re:Reality Check (2, Interesting)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243512)

But all of which, when combined have more of an effect then when you do only one of them.

I know something (3, Insightful)

Eversor (24917) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243214)

I know something that America loves to complain about more than fuel prices. Fat Americans. Get over yourself.

You are doing it wrong... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243240)

... if you are worried about the fuel that you save if you are less fat. Not using the car/suv/whatever will make you save even more fuel, if i.e. walk a block or 2 to get somewhere instead of going in car, or use more bycicle. Not using the car at all when there are other alternatives will usually be healthier. Taking a bus won't be as healthier as walking or going in bycicle, but still you will save fuel. And all of this works even if you are skinny.

misleading (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243250)

This appears misleading at best. Here's why:
During the time frame from 1960 to now, the average weight of cars has been reduced by one to two TONS. Someone weighing more in a more fuel efficient car LOWERS the amount of fuel used during that same time period. Sure gas mileage took a nose dive when antipollution stuff was first added in the 1970's. But since then, average mileage has gone up. (with the exception of the moms who bought multi-ton SUV's to ferry to the nail salon and pickup kids, instead of letting them ride the bus. And, as to wasting fuel, how much fuel did we use when we allowed lower standards to be used in drilling for oil, resulting in how many millions of barrels lost forever to the US? I know a variety of people who carry their golf clubs ALL the time in their trunk. We don't discuss how much that costs us, or driving kids to numerous after school activities, instead of letting them walk or ride the bike, things which can very easily be changed, we just discuss how much a fat person costs us. I wonder why.

Further:
As the study says, it's self reported.
During that same time period, the definition of obesity has been dramatically changed by the government, lowering the weight levels at which one is considered obese. Therefore more people would self-report being obese. When they first lowered the "normal" weights, 55% of all Americans became overweight by definition. For many people who were not considered by the government to be obese prior to this changing of its weight standard, they became obese overnight. Weight loss programs and weight loss surgery fought to be reimbursable by health insurance, and all too often were successful, making more people use these methods which have less than a 10% success rate over a 5 year time frame.(higher success rates for very short terms are common, leading to weight yo-yo-ing, which has significant negative health impact.) Thus the combination of change of definition of obese, the covering of expensive surgery and expensive weight loss programs, and the resulting yo-yo-ing have led to some higher healthcare costs. Discontinue covering such items that lead to more damage from more weight yo-yoing, and healthcare costs are reduced.

Finally:
Discussing weight has become a national pastime, especially for women. It's rare that I have a conversation longer than a half hour in which an American woman won't tell me how much she has lost, how much she has gained, and how much she had done attempting to lose weight. What a waste of human potential to spend so much time focused on something that contributes nothing to society, other than to help enrich the bank accounts of those selling get skinny quick solutions. When someone espouses waif like existence, watch what their connection to the finances of weight loss is. And notice how many of those waifs are eating disordered. The very thin have significantly increased weight related costs to society.

soapbox off

I'm sequestering carbon (4, Insightful)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243278)

Do you have any idea how much carbon I've sequestered in fat? Get off my roly poly back.

I'm saving the whales (1)

whovian (107062) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243962)

by using my body fat instead of whale oil to power my lights.

What about laziness (1, Insightful)

w00tsauce (1482311) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243286)

This study doesn't take into account fatties laziness. Fatties are more likely to sit in the car with the engine running and air conditioning on full blast cuz they're too fucking fat for the climate they live in. Fatties are more likely to drive to the mailbox because their fat knees can't handle their fat bodies.

Not to mention the damage to the vehicles (0, Troll)

Zexarious (691024) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243398)

The fuel cost isn't even the biggest problem. Think about the increased wear and tear on the suspension when a fat person drives a car. 99% of cars don't use progressive rated springs, so a fat person compressing the coils just once messes them up for life. Turning a car with a fat person is harder too and stresses out the tie rods and such. I wish more people would just read this thinspirational fatography blog [blogspot.com] .

Re:Not to mention the damage to the vehicles (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243792)

I actually wish more of the world didn't think that someone being fat means that they're a complete and total failure in life either. The way some of you word your comments it's like you'd want to nuke fat people off the face of the earth.

God help you if you ever get to the point where you're overweight. I will come and laugh in your face.

10^9/10^11 = less than 1% reduction in fuel usage (2, Interesting)

cacba (1831766) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243410)

Yep, this matters. 1.25871×10^11 Gal Used [wikipedia.org] .

american fuel prices (3, Insightful)

ZERO1ZERO (948669) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243502)

America has one of the cheapest fuel prices in the world. Stop complaining. it's about 6-7$ a gallon here.

Re:american fuel prices (3, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243640)

That'd be because you tax the hell out of it.

Re:american fuel prices (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#33244004)

Better to shape your transportation policy when you can afford to vs screaming bloody murder when demand naturally increases the cost of fuel out of your comfort zone.

Remember when oil was $140/barrel? And people in the US (I myself also live in the US) were demanding someone do *something* about the price of oil? Yeah. Figure out how to use less, even if that means taxing it heavily to promote people to drive more fuel efficient vehicles.

The Cost of Cheap Gasoline (5, Insightful)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243718)

The cost of (relatively) cheap gasoline? War, war, and more war. That cheap gasoline is only cheap because we're willing to bankrupt ourselves to get it.

Re:The Cost of Cheap Gasoline (1)

infinite9 (319274) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243930)

The cost of (relatively) cheap gasoline? War, war, and more war. That cheap gasoline is only cheap because we're willing to bankrupt ourselves to get it.

The price of gasoline in America is all about refinery capacity and not the price of oil. So why don't they just build more refineries? That's right.. because the price of gasoline in America is artificially controlled.

The wars are about the control of natural resources (including oil) and the control of money.

Re:american fuel prices (2, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243864)

America has one of the cheapest fuel prices in the world.

That's bull and you know it. Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Venezuela all pay less than $1 per gallon. [cnn.com] *

*Based on some really old CNN Money article. Prices may have changed, but I doubt very much.

Stop! (2, Funny)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243506)

Reading all these posts is making me hungry. Someone pass me another bag of cheetos and a coke.

Re:Stop! (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243898)

Dude, you gotta stock your mini-fridge before you sit down to read.

Regenerative Braking (2, Funny)

Rabbidous (1844966) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243516)

This sounds like a perfect argument for regenerative braking... The easy conclusion: fat people should all drive hybrids because they store more kinetic energy

Re:Regenerative Braking (2, Funny)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243926)

I'm not sure why, but I just imagined a future where fat people are hired to sit on "merry go rounds" as human flywheels.

Plastics anyone? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243618)

In 1960, even 1980, most everything on a vehicle was metal. Now days, so much of the vehicle is plastic. Plastic saves weight, while having some rigidity and performance. My glove box interior was actually cardboard, something that would be plastic today, due to the water-imperiousness, rigidity and what not (I am guessing weight is the same).

Meanwhile engineering advances have lead us to extract more HP from fuel. A 350cuin engine in 1980got 180HP and 300 ftlb of tq. Now they are about 300/300. With multiple valves per cylinder, the Volumetric Efficiency went up. Multi port fuel injection was an improvement in throttle body fuel injection, which replaced the collaborator. And electronically controlled timing delivered even more power at lower RPMs. So engines could be made smaller, or sold into markets for larger engines.

I fail to see how you can take all that into account and still have a reliable statistic. Because we just don't know where we'd be had we not come up with all those advances (pun unintentional)

Nanny State (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243656)

Shouldn't this be titled the cost of the welfare state? After all most of the weight can can be directly related to the nanny state we implemented in the 60's.

Extra Extra, read all about it! (2, Insightful)

djdbass (1037730) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243660)

Adding 42 years worth of data results in big number!

hmmm (2, Informative)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243728)

In the grand scope of things, 1B gallons over that time span is piss in the ocean.

1B gallons / 31 gallons per barrel = 32,258,064.5 barrels. Thats less than the US consumes in 2 days [doe.gov] .

Re:hmmm (1)

kkohlbacher (922932) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243990)



"HEY! Your missing the point entirely!! Your fancy numbers, reasonable comparisons and "mathematics" mean nothing when someone uses a word like BILLION!!"

The sheer concept of a billion gallons makes me want to smack every fat person! They caused global warming!! BILLION = BIG! DON'T YOU GET IT!?! OMG WHAT'S HAPPENING TO AMERICA!!? WHY ISN'T EVERY NEWS ORGANIZATION RUNNING THIS STORY!?!? AAHHHHH..." [jumps off cliff]

/s

physical appearance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243808)

Yep, judge people by their physical stature/appearance instead of what they contributed to society.
I remember reading about others throughout history that did exactly that with excellent results.

Does this count as invoking Godwin's Rule.

Stop sign proliferation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33243884)

I'm sure billions of gallons per year could be saved if we cut down on having 4 way stops at every single intersection.

Here is a modest proposal! (4, Insightful)

lupinstel (792700) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243890)

We can melt down all the fatties and use them as bio-diesel.

I don't agree (1)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243908)

If America truly loves to complain about gas mileage then why the fuck are there still so many SUVs and big ass trucks on the road everywhere? I think America just loves to complain about obesity.

And ??? (3, Insightful)

JohnRoss1968 (574825) | more than 4 years ago | (#33243984)

I dont give a rats ass what the study says , I for one am sick and tired of all of these "studies". All it is a way to try to tax us even more. Or a bunch of busy bodies trying to control other peaople and what they can / cant and have to do.

Am I overweight ? None of your damn business.
Do I smoke ? None of your damn business.
Do I eat red meat ? None of your damn business.
Do I drink soda pops ? None of your damn business.
What are my sexual preferences ? None of your damn business.
Did I eat my veggies ? None of your damn business.
Do I exercise ? None of your damn business.
Do I go to church ? None of your damn business.
Do I believe in God ? None of your damn business.
Do I use more internet bandwidth than you do ? None of your damn business.
Do I watch Porn ? None of your damn business.

America used to be a place where you were free to live your life however you wanted to as long as you did not directly interfere with the rights of others.
Now America is a place where your free to live your life however you want as long as it does not some how offend some idiot, no matter how stupid that idiot may be.

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