• Oct 26th 2006 at 7:52PM
  • 48
Gas prices have settled a bit in the past few months, but with the cost of a gallon still lingering well in the two-dollar range, many Americans are looking for ways to save a few bucks at the pump. But what if you are happy with your current car and don't want to be a new one that's more fuel efficient? One new study suggests you dump your spare tire.
No, not that spare tire. The one around your waist. This new study suggests that Americans are burning nearly 1 billion more gallons of gasoline every year because of the extra weight we're are toting around. At $2.20 a gallon, that amounts to $2.2 billion wasted on gas each year. "If a person reduces the weight in their car, either by removing excess baggage, carrying around less weight in their trunk, or yes, even losing weight, they will indeed see a drop in their fuel consumption." This from study co-author and University of Illinois researcher Sheldon Jacobson.

Jacobson points out that the lost mileage for any single driver is pretty small. Even by losing 100 pounds, the average driver would only save about $40 a year over a typical 12,000 miles. But it adds up when you consider how many motorists are on the road. Other research, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studies support these findings. In a related study, the CDC found that heavy fliers have contributed to higher fuel costs for airlines.

The study will appear in the October-December issue of The Engineering Economist, one of those academic/industry journals published by the American Society of Engineering Education and the Institute of Industrial Engineers. Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, former CDC director points out that although valid, the study conclusion is only partially helpful: "The wrong fuel is being focused on. If you're heavier, the most important fuel you use more of is food."

[Source: Yahoo! News]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago

      I think fat folks are really missing on a lot when it comes to cars, I am not fat but even I had difficulty fitting into Mazda RX8,( I am 150LB 5'6) also on the Auto shows I sat in all those small sporty coups, I have to say I had difficulty getting into them. So the fat people are really missing out on a lot of fun when it comes to driving, so please stop belittling Hondas and Minis simply because you can not fit into one.

      Also the reason American car makers make BIG cars is not because we have big families, but DUHHHHHH because each kid now needs his own row. Not to mention the wife who needs to pick up her two chins just to move the third one and get up.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I thought Fat People HAVE more gas????? So we should be blamming them for Green House Gases and Globla Warming. Who farts more, fat people of cows? Or are they one in the same? What about big breasted women? Should they get breast reduction and reduce weight? Or are they considered air bags? Fat people may burn more gas, but they make up for it by their contributions to the US economy my having to buy new shocks, tires, underwear, napkins, toilet paper, toilet plungers, tooth picks, Rolaids etc. more often than the rest of us. So it all balances out in the end.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Seconding NEBTEK2002. That's the problem with human nature-- we're all little tyrants that want to tell other people how to live their lives.

      Mind your own god damned business.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I find it funny that the justification they offer for losing 'just 100lbs' of body weight is a $40 annual savings in gas.

      How much do you think a person who has 100lbs to lose is going to have to spend in equipment or gym memberships/ personal training to attain that goal? I'll give you a hint... more than $40, and it'll take more than one year.

      I agree that it's good to save gas, and it's good to live a healthy lifestyle... but let's not try to combine the two in the manner described above. Riding a bike instead of a car - that solves the same problem a lot more efficiently.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Fat people use more soap than skinny people too. And you know where they get soap from..... yep..... whales.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "REPORT: Fat people waste gas"

      • 8 Years Ago
      Somebody has way too much time on there hands or are wasteing money on this. Give the money to the fat kid!!!!!!!
      • 8 Years Ago
      Shoot, I ride a van pool. That van has a tank with less than 40-gallons while my pickup is 26. So, instead of hauling my butt to and from work, I ride with 11 others on the van. Ok, so instead of one person consuming 26 gallons a week, 12 people consume 40.

      I bet the skinny person not in a vanpool is consuming more than the average person on a vanpool. BTW, I'm 60-pounds over what someone else thinks my ideal weight should be and I'm not the largest on the van.

      And let's look at it another way. For a 4500 pound SUV how is an extra 100-pounds making all that much impact? So, if I drive a 4400 pound SUV I'm ok?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Eat all the Big Macs you want. Keep your tires properly inflated, adopt the egg under your accelerator foot driving style, change your oil as recommended, slow down just a little, and save more fuel than you ever could by losing a hundred pounds. If you want to feel better, lose some weight. If you want to save fuel there are many more effective ways.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Poor fatties; the last bastion of semi-acceptable name calling and teasing.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well DUH!

      Obese people make me mad. They bitch and moan about how unhealthy they are but watch some of them and what they eat (I know there are people who cant exactly help their weight) I have seen grossly overweight people order enough McDonalds for themselves to feed a family of four. The people that make me laugh are the ones that sue Burger King or McDonalds for making them fat. Get a freakin clue!

      But it would be interesting to see how much fuel would be saved if the whole nation ended up being within their target weight ratio (cant think of how to explain it).
      • 8 Years Ago
      You know what my favorite snack is? Dipping a stick of butter into a jar of mayonnaise and then rolling it in crumbled blue cheese. Mmm... So delicious!

      In reality, removing the spare tire and jack would be easier and quicker way to shed weight in the vehicle. Hell, just clean the damn thing out and you'd probably save at least 10lbs.

      Even still, while I do believe this article is splitting hairs from a fuel economy point of view it doesn't change the fact that being overweight has endless negative consequences. Take better care of yourself people, you owe it to yourself, your family and friends. And trust me on this one - healthy food tastes better. I'm not talking about that soy crap pressed, squeezed and processed into every imaginable food group, I'm talking about organic beef, fresh fruits, vegetables, seasonings, fine wine and mouth-watering desserts. Go to Whole Foods and get something from there.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X