mpg obesity infographic

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in recent decades in the US, and with our bulging bellies has come an increase in serious health issues like diabetes and heart disease. Add to that excess gasoline consumption and additional risks in accidents, and the fat forecast gets even more depressing.

Starting with the statistic that Americans' weight gain is burning more than one billion gallons of excess fuel each year, Allstate and Cars.com have created an infographic explaining the complex struggle between fuel efficiency and passenger weight (check it out below). The short version: as automakers explore their options to meet ambitious federal corporate average fuel economy standards of 54.5 mpg by 2025, obese passengers make the efforts more complex.

The infographic, called "The Seesaw Battle of Fuel Efficiency," looks at what automakers are doing to meet the 54.5 mpg mandate during a time when more than one third of American adults are obese. For the automakers, cutting down weight is important because every 100 extra pounds can cut fuel efficiency by up to two percent. To improve efficiency, automakers are reducing vehicle weight by using more lightweight, high-strength steel and lightweight aluminum. They are also changing accessories inside the car, such as using MP3 players instead of CD players, flash drives instead of owner's manuals and air pumps instead of spare tires. To paraphrase Jay Leno, take out all you want, we'll eat more.