Fuel Efficiency vs. Obesity: Which Thins Our Carbon Footprint More?


Gas SignLose Weight and Shrink Your Carbon Footprint

Here's something that may surprise you: as you lose weight, you'll shrink your carbon footprint even MORE. How? Every 1 pound increase in per passenger weight in America translates into approximately 39 million gallons of extra gasoline that's required to transport all of that extra weight around. That's right...our collective extra tonnage is using up tons of extra fossil fuels to transport everywhere, seriously affecting your carbon footprint.

It makes sense, really. Remember back in high school science class: "an object at rest tends to stay at rest..."? Well, the bigger that object, the more energy it needs to get it moving. A 2004 CDC study found that thanks to the average 10 pound weight gain of Americans in the 1990s, airlines burned an additional 350 million gallons of gasoline to tote all that extra poundage-releasing an extra 3.8 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.  And a 2006 study found that nearly 1 billion additional gallons of fuel are burned by automobiles in the US each year to lug all our extra pounds gained since the 1960s.

So remember: thinner, leaner you, more energy efficient driving and flying. Might things like pumping up tires and promoting  fuel efficient of cars have less of an impact on greenhouse gas emissions than stemming our obesity crisis?


[1] The Mayo Clinic

[2] Center for Science in the Public Interest, Nutrition Action Health Letter. “Chair Today, Gone Tomorrow”. April 2008, 3-6.