Fat Americans are complicating automakers' quest for fuel efficiency

The increasing waistlines of Americans are making the auto industry's quest to shed vehicle weight and increase fuel economy a bit more difficult.

It’s no secret that American automakers are entrenched in a battle to create more fuel efficient vehicles. Not only must automakers meet the consumer’s burgeoning desire to pay less at the gas pump, but they must also consider the federal government’s increasing fuel economy standards. In fact, cars must average 54.5 mpg by 2025, according to new EPA fuel efficiency standards. While this is all well and good, automakers’ plans to increase fuel efficiency are being compounded by a rather large impediment: fat Americans. With this in mind, a new study by Cars.com and Allstate has outlined the “battle of the bulge” for all to see.

The American obesity epidemic has been touted in the news media for years now, but just how does it relate to fuel efficiency? The increased passenger weight in automobiles is having a major impact on fuel efficiency, according to the study. The research cites that 39 million gallons of fuel are used per year for every pound added on in passenger weight.

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Comments

Excellent piece Anthony. It's sad, I just saw the latest numbers here in Long Beach, California, 42.7% overweight to obese. And that's in California! If you take into consideration security features, heavier humans and the frenetic race to make engines more gas frugal, it's no wonder our car market is in the shape it's in. Maybe the auto industry could side up with vegetarians and vegans :) My wife is vegan and I'm a vegetarian. I eat as much as I want and don't put on the pounds, so does she.

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