Measuring the potential for automobile fuel savings in the US: The impact of obesity

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High rates of oil consumption and obesity in the US have become important socioeconomic concerns. While these concerns may seem unrelated at first, growing obesity rates in the US increase fuel consumption by adding passenger weight to vehicles. This paper estimates the additional amount of fuel (i.e., gasoline) consumed annually by noncommercial passenger highway vehicles in the US due to passenger overweight and obesity. The mathematical model presented in this paper estimates that as many as one billion additional gallons of gasoline are consumed each year due to overweight and obesity in the US, accounting for up to 0.8% of the fuel consumed by these vehicles annually. This additional fuel consumption causes carbon dioxide emissions of up to 20 billion pounds or more, accounting for up to 0.5% of the annual carbon dioxide emissions in the transportation sector.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-13
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Carbon emissions
  • Fuel consumption
  • Obesity
  • Public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Environmental Science(all)


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