Eat More Carbohydrates, Burn More Hydrocarbons

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A forthcoming study by Sheldon H. Jacobson at the University of Illinois suggests that Americans’ expanding waistlines have significantly increased the amount of fuel we burn.

Americans are now pumping 938 million gallons of fuel more annually than they were in 1960 as a result of extra weight in vehicles. And when gas prices average $3 a gallon, the tab for overweight people in a vehicle amounts to $7.7 million a day, or $2.8 billion a year.

Jacobsen’s study has been mentioned in several news stories lately. The Washington Post quotes him as saying:

If people decide as a nation to get healthier and lose weight and be fitter, not only will we have a healthier country but we’re actually going to reduce our dependence on foreign oil very covertly, simply because we’re going to be using less.

Time Magazine mentions the study as well in this week’s Low Carbon Diet story:

Some people have decided that the way to help fight global warming is to put their daily consumption of energy on a strict diet… The Spencer family devised a new commute plan that enabled her husband and her daughter to ride their bikes to work and school. A new study even suggests that a traditional diet may be good for a carbon diet; the report, to be published this month in The Engineering Economist suggests that people who are overweight burn more gas when they drive.

Photo: Robertbaertsch/Flickr

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