Obese Drivers Boosting Fuel Consumption, Insurance Blog Says

By Susan Jones | October 9, 2012 | 8:25 AM EDT

As cars get lighter, passengers get heavier, taking a toll on fuel efficiency. (Photo from Allstate Insurance blog)

(CNSNews.com) - Allstate Insurance says as new cars get lighter, drivers are heavier -- and the result is lower fuel efficiency at a time when the government is demanding better mileage.

"Federal regulators are requiring 54.5 MPGs for cars and trucks by 2025. But even as the automotive industry goes to extremes to shed  weight to meet these rules, heavier drivers are adding unexpected pounds. And that impact fuels consumption," says a blog on the Allstate website, as noted by the Chicago Tribune.

According to the blog, "the weight gain of Americans is blamed for more than 1 billion gallons of wasted fuel each year."

Allstate, in conjunction with Cars.com, created an "infographic" to"document what it calls the complex struggle between fuel efficiency and passenger weight.

It says that between 1962 and 2002, one billion gallons of gasoline a year could be attributed to the weight gain of people riding in non-commerical vehicles. Every hundred pounds equals one fewer mile to the gallon.

As carmakers continue to reduce the weight of passenger vehicles, the only unknown is whether U.S. obesity will continue its upward trend, the infographic concludes.

It also says that some current car features are on their way out as a means of reducing vehicle weight: owner's manuals are going digital, CD players are being replaced by smaller MP3 players, and even the spare tire will be a thing of the past, replaced with smaller, lighter air pumps.