Keeping gas in the family truckster is slimming more than wallets these days and could have Americans tightening their belts — literally. According to Charles Courtemanche, an assistant economics professor at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, rising fuel prices are the ultimate crash diet for a nation that grew fat on cheap gas.
Courtemanche says a $1 increase in the price of gasoline could cut the obesity rate by 10 percent, saving 16,000 lives and $17 billion in health care costs each year. He makes the case in “A Silver Lining? The Connection Between Gasoline Prices and Obesity,” his doctoral dissertation in health economics. The paper, currently being peer-reviewed, can be summed up in the simple idea that people walk more, bike more and dine out less when gas prices rise.
Evidence suggests he’s on to something. Read more»