Print 128 comment(s) - last by 0ldman.. on Aug 18 at 12:33 AM

Americans are using more fuel because they weigh so much.  (Source: Healthy Me!)
"If you see me coming your way/Better give me plenty space"

Americans these days are living big, though not necessarily in a good way. Even as some people in America turn to healthier lifestyles, obesity rates continue to soar upwards.  That's frustrating news not only for doctors, but for transportation engineers as well.

We already covered how obesity was costing the U.S. airline industry $275M USD more a year in fuel use.  But according to
Consumer Reports, it's not the only transportation industry to buckle under the America's growing mass.

The publication cites a 2006 study which indicates that for every pound added to the national average passenger weight, 39 million more gallons of fuel are used.  In total, over 1 billion gallons of fuel a year (about 0.7 percent of the nation's total use) can be attributed to fat.

Other studies show that the effect, while small, may be larger than those previous estimates.  Non-profit company Resources for the Future in 2009 showed that between 1999 to 2005 a 10-percent increase in overweight and obese drivers reduced fuel economy of new vehicle demand by 2.5 percent.

The report also comes to the more controversial conclusion that obesity is driving SUV, van, and pickup truck purchases.  It attributes much of the rise in this sector from 16 percent of total sales in the 1970s to over 40 percent today as being the result of passengers seeking cars to deal with their growing size.

Another study, which we previously covered, comes to the conclusion that obese drivers are more likely to be injured during car wrecks despite their extra mass apparently overcoming whatever padding their flab provided.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in America obesity rose 1.1 percent from 2007 to 2009 -- meaning that roughly 2.4 million people entered the category for the first time.  Plus the number of states with over 30 percent obesity rates jumped from three to nine.

Consumer Reports suggests both that Americans need to lose weight and that plus-sized crash test dummies need to be implemented to better protect those who haven't lost weight yet.

There's not always an easy answer for obese drivers.  An Edmonton, Alberta Kia dealer last year was forced to inform a woman who purchased a Kia Rio that she might be too heavy for it.  The sedan was pulling towards the left.  The dealership tried to correct it, to no avail, but eventually gave up, realizing the laws of physics were stacked against them; the driver had too much mass.  


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RE: So What.
By ebakke on 8/12/2010 4:22:19 PM , Rating: 2
I'm all about people having the freedom to make whatever choices they want, even if it means allowing someone to choose to kill themselves with a poor diet. But are you honestly trying to tell me that you don't see their decisions as bad?

And it becomes particularly troublesome when they teach the same behavior to their children.

RE: So What.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/2010 5:20:59 PM , Rating: 3
But are you honestly trying to tell me that you don't see their decisions as bad?

Nope, I'm not. I just don't feel comfortable judging them on it to be honest.

I think man has an innate need to assert it's dominance over others. And "fat" people have become the newest politically correct target. I mean, their fat and disgusting, right? How could they GET that way? We would NEVER let that happen to us. So something must be wrong with them, or we must make comments on them, or insult them, or blame them for stuff etc etc.

I just really don't feel like taking a part in that to be honest.

RE: So What.
By Spuke on 8/12/2010 7:02:03 PM , Rating: 2
I just really don't feel like taking a part in that to be honest.
I can understand this.

RE: So What.
By thurston on 8/12/10, Rating: 0
RE: So What.
By ebakke on 8/12/2010 9:54:34 PM , Rating: 2
So you're comfortable making judgments about people who follow more liberal political views, but not fat people? Just so we're on the same page here...

RE: So What.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/13/2010 12:36:14 AM , Rating: 2
So you're comfortable making judgments about people who follow more liberal political views

If they support measures and opinions that increase my taxes, lower my standard of living, impose restrictions on me etc etc? You're goddamn right.

How is someone weighing more compare to that exactly? I know a lot of people here are trying to make some Butterfly Effect argument that somehow an overweight person is negatively impacting everyone else. But even if that's true, it doesn't come close to the effect runaway Liberalism does.

Hope we're on the same page now.

RE: So What.
By ebakke on 8/13/2010 10:05:14 AM , Rating: 1
All I'm saying is don't take this holier than thou attitude about how you're above judging others when you do it all the damn time. And if you're going to, expect to be called out on it.

RE: So What.
By Reclaimer77 on 8/13/2010 12:02:17 PM , Rating: 2
Where did I say I was "above" judging others? Holier than thou? OH come on, you surely must have a beef with me and are just projecting it onto this conversation. Because that's ludicrous. Where did I come down on ANYONE for judging fat people here? I didn't. I just said I don't want to. Your attempt to portray me as a hypocrite just isn't going to work.

This discussion is over, and everyone is dumber for having read it. A guy/girl eating "too much" cookies are whatever is none of my business, and none of my concern. It doesn't effect anyone in the slightest.

RE: So What.
By ebakke on 8/13/2010 1:44:26 PM , Rating: 2
I have no beef with you, and more often than not, I agree with your viewpoints expressed here. Maybe I read your post with a tone/inflection that you didn't have when you wrote it. I don't know. But it sure came across as "I know everyone else is fine with bashing fat people, but I'm just not comfortable stooping to that level."

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