Driving While Eating

Newsflash: Americans are fat. And no, we're not just big boned. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions over the past couple decades, and as a result diabetes, heart disease and just about every other health issue are on the rise.

The Atlantic reports that the amount of fuel we're using is on the rise as well, as heavy occupants need more fuel to get from Point A to *insert drive-thru joke here*. A 2006 study shows that Americans weigh so much more than they did in 1960 that we're using up almost an additional billion gallons of petrol every year.

That's about $4 billion a year at today's gas prices, and nearly one percent of overall fuel usage. And that was back in 2006 – as we continue to plump up, the dollars continue to pile up. Inside Line reports that each pound we gain as a population adds up to another $39 million. It's too bad we can't get stop/start tech for our appetites.

Regular readers might remember a similar story about the 2006 study that claimed the U.S. is using an extra 153 million gallons a year. That was an estimate based on actual fuel deliveries. The new number, 938 million gallons, comes from engineer Sheldon Jacobson of the University of Illinois. However you look at the numbers, the point is our waistlines impact the bottom line.