Photo: simplerich on flickr
An Allstate infographic released this week found an interesting correlation between the cost of gas and the increasing rate of obesity in the United States.Sure, economic factors play a large role in the reason gas prices are on the rise, but experts say gas costs per individual are also hiking for reasons unrelated to the price at the pump.
One component contributing to higher gas costs is the weight of vehicles, which result in more gas being used per mile. But as car manufacturers work diligently to reduce vehicle weight, some experts believe one of the ways to save money on gas is having drivers lose a few pounds.
Cost of Gas Attributed to Obesity
This week, Allstate and Cars.com released an infographic designed to explain the relationship between fuel economy and obesity. The infographic revealed what many have said over the years: a heavier vehicle results in greater fuel consumption.
The data shares that one of the biggest reasons cars are consuming more fuel and consumers are seeing the cost of gas rise, is that American drivers are getting heavier. “The growing trend of American obesity adds unexpected weight to vehicles, making it difficult for consumers to realise fuel efficiency gains,” the analysis noted.
More than one-third of Americans are obese with self-reported weight in 2011 being higher than ever, according to the report. 39 million gallons of fuel was used per year for every pound added on in average passenger weight.
But increased weight in vehicles was not the only contributor to an increase in gas consumption, the report found. Individuals who move into the obese weight category often need a bigger vehicle (van, SUV, etc.) for comfort. Larger vehicles typically burn more gas, meaning individuals who purchase these vehicles are paying more for the cost of gas to fill up.
Ways to Save Money on Gas Costs
Saving money on the cost of gas may be possible if people shed a few pounds, but of course, there is no guarantee that this alone will reduce gas costs with so many other factors involved.
But with gas prices rising, taking every measure possible to reduce fuel consumption is essential. Here are just some of the ways to save money on gas:
- Check tire pressure. Lower tire pressure can not only reduce your fuel economy and increase your cost of gas, but can also result in damage to your tires.
- Raise your windows. Driving with your windows down creates more drag on your engine, compared to turning on the air conditioner on newer vehicles, which is why rolling up windows serves as one of the more practical ways to save money.
- Use correct motor oil grade. An incorrect motor oil grade could create more friction in your engine and force it to burn gas faster. Also, be sure to get oil changes regularly so your engine is operating efficiently.
- Clean air filter. Be sure to clean your vehicle’s air filter to avoid clogs that can negatively influence the cost of gas at the pump.
In addition to the above suggestions, it’s not a bad idea to lose weight as well in the name of better health and possibly gas savings, particularly if you’re within the overweight or obese categories. By taking every step possible to lower the cost of gas, you should see a significant jump in your savings.