Erwin Wurm's Fat CarEnlarge Photo
America loves to complain about gas mileage and the cost of gasoline. As it turns out, part of the problem is us.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 1.1 percent increase in self-reported obesity, which translates into extra weight that your vehicle has to haul around.
creative commons - flickr.com: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dogwelder/34645721/Enlarge Photo
How much does it really matter? The study estimates that 1 billion extra gallons of fuel was needed to compensate for passenger weight gained between 1960 and 2002.
In other words, 0.7 percent of the fuel used annually by passenger vehicles over that period would not have been burned if Americans hadn't gained weight.
Fun with statistics: 39 million gallons of fuel is wasted for every pound gained by the average American.
Many other factors play into this: weather, vehicle weight, driving style, and more. Some are things we can control, some are things we can't.
But most Americans have some ability to affect their weight. If you're worried about how much money you're spending on fuel, consider not making the journey, or walking or biking if you live in a place where that's possible.
If you don't--most American suburbs since 1950 are designed on the assumption that motor vehicles are the sole mode of transportation--then maybe you want to consider skipping that Big Mac, or trading it in for a salad.
Americans getting too fat to drive?