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Green Update: Obese Cars… and Obese Drivers

May 1st, 2012

Overweight driver

The subject of obesity is often a very sensitive one. I have a close relative who is enormous and who gets very upset if you mention diets, exercise or heart conditions.

Imagine how fat car owners feel. If they think about it, they might realize that cars have gotten very much bigger and heavier over the years, in part to accommodate them.

One study now reveals the astonishing costs of getting fat:

U.S. hospitals are ripping out wall-mounted toilets and replacing them with floor models to better support obese patients. The Federal Transit Administration wants buses to be tested for the impact of heavier riders on steering and braking. Cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.

A billion gallons a year? That comes from a 2006 study on obesity and driving habits. Since then, the obesity problem has gotten much worse, now affecting over one-third of all U.S. adults, so you know it’s way more than a billion gallons.

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