Well I’m still crafting a clever bit of discourse on the morality of food that I hope to have out later. However, I saw this “article” (Oh Yahoo News…how you always manage to disappoint) of tips on how to save over $1,000 on gas per year and had to share one of the AMAZING tips for saving gas. Here is the offending piece of insanity. While I can’t speak to most of the tips and their ability to save you money (Mythbusters can do some of that, and Popular Mechanics and MSN and Edmunds.com can speak to some of them as well), I CAN address my “favorite” tip:
8. Lose Weight:
Possible Savings 13.1 gallons/yr for each 100 pounds you remove ($104/yr)
Government estimates say that an extra 100 pounds in your car can reduce fuel efficiency by up to two percent. And that’s an average — the smaller the car, the more extra weight makes the engine work harder.
Did you see? If you lose just 100 pounds, you will save *drum roll* 13 gallons of gas. A year. For losing 100!!! pounds. I don’t know about you, but unless you’ve been so lucky as to never had to diet in your life (in which case I wish I had grown up in YOUR world); you just had a bit of a cringe reaction to the idea of TRYING to lose 100 pounds. I mean, seriously, 100 pounds!
Any check-out counter at any local supermarket will show magazines that bombard you with “Lose those 15 pounds in only 6 weeks!” or “How to burn 10 pounds of fat in 4 weeks eating only grapefruit!”. As well as other mind-boggling diet-tips intended to squash any enjoyment you may have of food or exercise. And those are only for small weight loss! If you follow the general guidelines any weight-loss centric nutritionist will spout at you, the general “rule” is that you should only lose 1-2 pounds per week. So…we are talking about between 50-100 weeks (Between 1 and 2 YEARS) to lose that much weight. (Mind you, we’re not even talking about KEEPING it off, which as we know is not likely, but simply LOSING that much).
So. If you work REALLY hard. For 1-2 years. You could do it too! You could lose 100!!! pounds. And save 13 gallons of gas. A year. The title, by the way, of the article? “10 EASY ways to save over a grand on gas” (emphasis mine). Now go back and read tip number 8 again. Reflect on any diet you’ve ever dragged yourself through; just to lose a few pounds. Multiply that by 100. Is that REALLY an EASY thing to do? Starve and destroy your body until 100 pounds “melt” off of you?! Even the media will admit now that weight loss is “Hard” (and is willing to sell you any amount of pills and diet schemes to “make it easier”). But still the idea persists that dropping weight is a simple matter of just not eating and exercising more. And, for this author at least, is something that can be done at the drop of a hat as a way to save $100 on gas each year [although I am using the author's number here, has anyone else noted that 13 gallons of gas does NOT equal $100...unless gas were already at almost $8 a gallon. Or wait, is the author assuming that we have to lose 200 pounds for that $100 dollar savings???] Yeah, WHOOOO a whole $1 (or 50 cents) for each pound you shed…now THERE’S incentive…why didn’t I think of that before….
Most frightening, I think, is how clearly this shows (especially by how blase the author is about such a large weight loss) how pervasive the idea that weight loss is EASY and YOU CAN DO IT TOO in our society…thus perpetrating yet again the myth that anyone who IS fat is to blame. Because losing weight is so easy (to fail perhaps) that dropping 100 pounds to save 13 gallons of gas a year is easy beans…all us fatties must just be lazy and weak willed. Yeah. Right. If you accept that dogma so easily, I have a few papers to draw up and a bridge to sell you somewhere.
So everyone, do yourself a favor. Save yourself from the 1-2years of agony. LOVE your body the way it is. If you’re really worried about saving $100 a year on gas? Combine a few shopping trips throughout the year. It just might save you that AMAZING 13 gallons in no time…and no pounds…flat.
*Edited simply to fix my own math error…1-2 lbs a week for 100 pounds would be 50-100 weeks; not 100-200.