Barbara Ehrenreich Solves Fuel Crisis

Ok, this has nothing whatsoever to do with reading, but I do think Barbara Ehrenreich over at the Huffington Post is to be commended for thinking outside the box.

I say to my fellow humans: It’s time to stop feeding off the dead and grow up! I don’t know about food, but I have a plan for achieving fuel self-suffiency in less time than it takes to say “Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” The idea came to me from reports of the growing crime of French fry oil theft: Certain desperate individuals are stealing restaurants’ discarded cooking oil, which can then be used to fuel cars. So the idea is: why not could skip the French fry phase and harvest high-energy hydrocarbons right from ourselves?

I’m talking about liposuction, of course, and it’s a mystery to me why it hasn’t occurred to any of those geniuses who are constantly opining about fuel prices on MSNBC. The average liposuction removes about half a gallon of liquid fat, which may not seem like much. But think of the vast reserves our nation is literally sitting on! Thirty percent of Americans are obese, or about 90 million individuals or 45 million gallons of easily available fat — not from dead diatoms but from our very own bellies and butts.

One thing Ehrenreich leaves out is all that all that reduced weight will result in much higher gas mileage. According to a study by Sheldon Jacobsen at the University of Illinois,

Since 1960…the consumption of no less than 938 million gallons of gasoline annually can be attributed to weight gains of drivers and passengers. Of that total no less than 272 million gallons are consumed annually as a result of weight gains since 1988.

“The key finding is that nearly 1 billion gallons of fuel are consumed each year because of the average weight gain of people living in the United States since 1960 – nearly three times the total amount of fuel consumed by all passenger vehicles each day based on current driving habits,” McLay and Jacobson wrote.

Yet one more incentive for me to start my diet. It could pay for my vacation.