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Higher gasoline price seen trimming down Americans

by Commute by Bike

Here’s a great story from Yahoo News about the rising gas prices potentially helping out the US obesity epidemic. I love seeing the gas prices go up and give three cheers for when it finally hits $5/gallon. I think that will be the magic number where people will start dumping four wheels for two in droves…

Yahoo News:

Higher U.S. gasoline prices may slim more than just wallets, according to a new study from Washington University in St. Louis.
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Entitled “A Silver Lining? The Connection between Gas Prices and Obesity,” the study found that an additional $1 per gallon in real gasoline prices would reduce U.S. obesity by 15 percent after five years.

The report, written by Charles Courtemanche for his doctoral dissertation in health economics, found that the 13 percent rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to falling pump prices.

Gasoline hit a low of less than $1.50 per gallon in 2000 before moving back to a record high of $3.22 in May 2007.

Higher gasoline prices can reduce obesity by leading people to walk or cycle instead of drive and eat leaner at home instead of rich food at restaurants.

Keep reading…

 
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12 Responses to “Higher gasoline price seen trimming down Americans”

  1. Kim says:

    The price of gas here in South Korea is about 6.25 per gallon by my calculations, and people still drive in droves. I hope it works, though!

  2. jason says:

    High gas price is one of the reasons I ride bike as much as I do. However if the price keeps climbing as slow as it has, most people just accept it, as they think there is nothing they can do about it.

  3. Rad Andy says:

    Yeah it’s true that the higher gas prices won’t make everyone ditch the car… but I think it will be enough to push a lot of people over that last hurdle to making it worth it.

  4. Fritz says:

    What a fascinating study about the link between obesity and gas prices.

    Higher gasoline prices has the unfortunate effect of slowing the economy. There are recession fears, which is fun for nobody.

  5. Mike says:

    Not to be the pessimist here, but as long as we have a “do nothing” Congress and auto makers who have lost touch with reality real change is going to be like pushing a rope uphill. America’s love affair with the car will continue dictate public policy.
    On a more positive note, I ride more for both reasons, cost and health, and health is the biggest reason of all. I ride most errands within a 5 mile radius and enjoy the slower pace and the scenery to boot!

  6. Paul of Minneapolis says:

    Yes Fritz, we do live in an OIL based economy.
    It is driven by the BIG OIL companies and if we don’t change it soon the crash from peak oil will be the worse than the event that killed off the dinosaurs.

    Riding a bike does not hurt our economy. It does change the way our money drives the economy, from large corporations to local businesses.

    Changing our lives will allow us to choose where our money goes. Instead of feeding those large impersonal corporations, we will be able to choose buying better clothes and won’t need the drugs to combat the effects of an inactive life, better food instead of shooting up with gas and maybe exchange that huge chunk pay for that coffin on wheels every month to a vacation.

    Yes the economy will weaver in the transition but will be for the better.

    So, “Just say no to gasoline” and watch the unwanted pounds melt.

    Remember every year America pumps less oil out of the ground (peak oil) and has to import (over 60%) more and still more because of more and larger cars.

  7. Mike Myers says:

    I remember when gasoline hit record prices after hurricane Katrina. As I pedalled down US 19 I thought, “Wow, prices sure are high, I guess people will have to conserve.”. I was then passed by SUV and big truck after SUV and big truck, all towing offshore fishing boats or jet skis. I think gasoline would have to hit a higher price than $5.00 to have an effect. People will just cut down other places. They won’t go to the movies, or go out to eat. But they will still drive a lot.

  8. Joe says:

    I find this article ironic because just the other day I was thinking a lot of people wouldn’t even consider riding a bike, even if the cost of gas went up by a dollar or two or three. I’m talking about the people I see driving who look at me, riding my bike on the street, as if I’ve lost my mind. The idea of vehicular cycling is totally foreign to them. I think that those with higher incomes would just absorb the cost of more expensive fuel and many of those less educated people with lower incomes would be too stupid to ever even consider that they could just ride a bike to the grocery store two miles down the road rather than driving and burning up fuel as they sit at red lights. So who’s going to consider cycling who hasn’t already? Probably middle income folks who are educated and therefore open-minded enough but who don’t have so much income that rising fuel prices won’t affect them.

  9. Cafn8 says:

    It’s true that cars are so much a part of US culture that when faced with higher fuel prices most people’s reaction will be to cut back in other ways, like packing lunch from home, or not going to the movies as often. My hope, however, is that a few people will see those of us who do ride, see that it can be done, and remember their old bike collecting dust in the basement.

    Mostly, though, I’m just one of those people losing the extra weight and feeling better.

  10. doug says:

    yeah, my experience with people who are into cars is that their car is one of the most important things in their life, and that to stop driving it is unthinkable. one unfortunate side effect of this, among many, is that i have to sit in my breakroom at work listening to them talk about gas prices all the time. i don’t know what’s worse, that or real estate talk. people are so dull.

    occasionally i have to guard the gas station at my work (a huge warehouse like store, guess which one) and people will call me over to bitch me out about gas prices. “WHY IS THIS SO HIGH” they yell. i always tell them, “they charge that much because people pay that much.” they then usually spit some bile towards greedy execs while filling up their huge SUV with bush and jesus stickers on the back.

  11. annie says:

    What a bunch of self-righteous jerks you are. So, you hope gas prices go up so no one can drive and everyone has to bicycle? Let me ask you this: Will you still be able to ride your beloved bicycle when you’re 75–thin, fit but crippled with arthritis? How about if you’re 45 and have to come home from the hospital after having major surgery: Are you going to ride your bike then? There are some people who simply have no choice but to drive or ride in a car if they need to get somewhere. Not everyone is blessed by youth and good health. You’re smug now, but your hate and disrespect for everyone who is not just like you will come back to haunt you.

  12. Fritz says:

    Welcome Annie. As I noted in my previous comment here, I don’t welcome the higher gas prices — it’s a burden on almost everybody, while it enriches only a few.

    Our future is a big motivator for me to cycle more, not less. The less we burn now, the more that’s available for the infirm and disabled to use. Many older Americans live on fixed incomes and most have no access to public transportation, so $4+ gasoline is a major burden on their finances. Even Meals on Wheels programs that serve retirees and disabled are cutting back because they can’t afford the fuel expense.

    While Joe American continues to drive his gas hog and consume a declining resource, retirees are losing their homes and going bankrupt. It’s a major problem; driving less is part of a solution. I firmly believe continued motoring is not only unsustainable, but it’s essentially selfish and smug. Continued motoring will come back to haunt almost our entire nation, and sooner rather than later.

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