And I thought it was just because of the high price!!
CHICAGO - Want to spend less at the pump? Lose some weight. That's the implication of a new study that says Americans are burning nearly 1 billion more gallons of gasoline each year than they did in 1960 because of their expanding waistlines. Simply put, more weight in the car means lower gas mileage.
Using recent gas prices of $2.20 a gallon, that translates to about $2.2 billion more spent on gas each year.
"The bottom line is that our hunger for food and our hunger for oil are not independent. There is a relationship between the two," said University of Illinois researcher Sheldon Jacobson, a study co-author.
"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."
The obesity rate among U.S. adults doubled from 1987 to 2003, from about 15 percent to more than 30 percent. Also, the average weight for American men was 191 pounds in 2002 and 164 pounds for women, about 25 pounds heavier than in 1960, government figures show.
The study's conclusions are based on those weight figures and Americans' 2003 driving habits, involving roughly 223 million cars and light trucks nationwide.
The estimates "are probably pretty reliable," said Larry Chavis,an economist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. "I don't know if it's going to encourage anybody to go out and lose weight to save gasoline, but even for individual families, it could have an effect on their budget."