# McDonalds Caused Iraq?

According to a new article in the Engineering Economist, Americans use 938 million more gallons of fuel per annum than in 1960 as a direct result of their increased weight.

Proceed At Your Own Risk posits the logical extension of this argument: McDonalds caused the war in Iraq.

It can’t all be the golden arches fault. The increased weight could also be attributed to the rise of of refrigeration, and polio vaccinations (you see how many calories you burn while tromping around in metal braces).

1. sushisuzuki says:

How many billion gallons (or is it in the trillions?) of gas do Americans consume every year? Is 938 million gallons even significant? (I mean, simply put, it’s 3-4 more gallons of gas per person per year, which doesn’t seem like that much compared to how much people use every year, and how much of that is caused by the market penetration of SUVs)

2. I get that the link to McDonald’s and Iraq is an obvious joke, but I find the idea of more overweight people causing larger intake in gas to be a pretty intriguing concept… So let me pull from the deeplinked article here:

In a paper to appear in the October-December issue of the journal The Engineering Economist, the scientists conclude that each extra pound of body weight in all of today’s vehicles results in the need for more than 39 million gallons of extra gasoline usage each year.

I typically find this kind of sensationalism to be highly irresponsible. Scientists have concluded, eh? Based on what data?

Their conclusions are based on mathematical computations drawn from publicly available data on U.S. weight gain from 1960 to 2002, a period in which the weight of the average American has increased by more than 24 pounds, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Ohhh so based on weight gain we can tell that Americans are using up X amount more gas. All the other bazillion variables that could possibly have an effect? Obviously they’re all overridden by lard filled globules of fat on our bottoms. Woe to us fat Americans who will be forced into paying so much extra money!

Why these stats are bogus: According to HowStuffWorks America currently uses 400 million gallons of gas per day. That’s 146 BILLION gallons of gas per year. That also means our extra lardasses account for approximately 0.6424 % extra in fuel increases per based on the Engineering Economist’s stat of 938 million extra gallons used per year. Certainly no laughing matter until you consider the infinite variables that override it, such as the mere use of Fuel Injection in cars since 1960 likely outweighs the increase of weight due to increased efficiency.

Besides, Carnegie Mellon says you can save 432 dollars per year (144 gallons @ 3\$ a gallon) just by making sure your tire pressure is optimal! If you assume the average household uses about 4 gallons of gas per day, based on the stats from HowStuffWorks, then that means that we as a nation could save 14.4 billion gallons of gas each year just by checking our tire pressure.

Are both sets of stats likely bogus? Sure. I just love stat games though.

3. B says:

Are Americans fatter because they drive more, or do Americans drive more because they’re fatter?

4. AcilletaM says:

Doesn’t a theorem such as that also require then that we are getting more oil out of Iraq now?