Report: Obesity Effects Automobile Safety and Fuel Economy

Report: Obesity Effects Automobile Safety and Fuel Economy

We all know that obesity has an adverse effect on our health, but did you know that is also has a detrimental effect on fuel economy and car safety? Those are the findings coming out of a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

General findings from this new report on obesity showed that there was a 1.1 percent increase (an additional 2.4 million people) in the self-reported prevalence of obesity between 2007 and 2009, and the number of states with an obesity rate over 30 percent has tripled to nine states (compare that to 2000, when there were no states that had an obesity rate of 30 percent). Not only does this become a concern for health, but also has repercussions when it comes to automobiles. The rise in obesity has forced these people, out of necessity, to buy larger vehicles, which increases gasoline consumption in the U.S. and fuel consumption increases with more weight in cars.

In 2006, a study done by analyzed the amount of additional fuel consumed due to heavier drivers. They found that almost 1 billion gallons of gasoline per year can be attributed to passenger weight gain in non-commercial vehicles between 1960 and 2002. That comes out to .7 percent of the total fuel used by passenger vehicles annually. They also estimated that for every pound gained in average passenger weight, over 39 million gallons of fuel is used annually.

One the safety side of things, the obesity problem also increases the risk of crashes and injury is more prevalent due to the fact that obese drivers are less likely to buckle up because seat belts may not fit properly.

[Source: Consumer Reports]