Great News! Higher Gas Prices "Good" For You!

A new study from Washington University claims that “the 13 percent rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 can be attributed to falling pump prices,” and that if gas prices were raised by $1 more, obesity levels would drop by 15% over the next 5 years. Apparently the closer the cost of a gallon of gas comes to a monthly gym membership fee, the more gym-like qualities it magically takes on.

Actually, according to the article, “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.” The study’s author, health economist Charles Courtemanche, said he got the idea for the study one day while pumping gas—he was thinking that if it got much more expensive, he’d have to take public transportation, which would increase his daily exercise (via walking) by 30 minutes per day.

Gas hit a record high of $3.22 per gallon this past May.

“Higher gas prices seen trimming down Americans” [Reuters]
(Original photo: Joe Shlabotnik)