Morbid Curiosity

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I was at a red light tonight on the drive home and was sitting next to an extra jacked up Hummer H2 and thought to myself: "I wonder how much it costs to fuel that thing?" Then I got a little morbid. I wondered what the real cost of it was, how many people had died to fuel that hummer. I'm a liberal commie bastard so of course I'm talking about the Iraq war. I'm also a nerd so let's do some math.

According to the US Department of Energy the united states imported approximately 2 billion barrels of oil from all OPEC nations in the year 2006 (the most recent data set). But not all of that gets turned into gasoline, looking again at the DOE we can find that of the about 7.55 billion barrels of oil consumed by the united states in 2006 approximately 3.37 billion barrels of gasoline were produced so that 2 billion barrels from OPEC translates to roughly 892 million barrels of gas. At 42 US standard gallons per barrel that's 37.5 billion gallons of gas per year that we use as a nation.

The H2 is not the most efficient of vehicles. EPA estimates for the 2006 model year were 10 MPG city and 15 MPG highway. Most consumers tend to get pretty close to the city rating all of the time (our traffic is non ideal) and given that this was a raised H2 I'm going to go ahead and peg its fuel economy at 10 miles per gallon. The AAA says that, on average, Americans drive 15,000 miles per year, which is pretty consistent with how many miles I have on my car so I'd believe it. Mr H2 therefore consumes about 1000 gallons per year. My car, a 2006 Mazda 3, is rated at 25/31 and I tend to get pretty close to the 25 MPG rating costing me roughly 600 gallons per year. The CAFE standard for fleet fuel economy is 27.5 MPG so I'm running pretty close to what the "average" available fuel economy for purchase is. Therefore by driving a hummer instead of an "average" car we have to consume 400 gallons per year that we wouldn't otherwise have to or more precisely 0.000001066% of all gasoline consumed by Americans in the year 2006.

According to the admittedly biased sounding Iraq Body Count website there were an average of 63.5 deaths per day in Iraq in 2006 (admittedly the most violent year there on record), which works out to a nice even 23000 deaths per year. In terms of corpses we've got a full 0.02453% of a body spent for that H2 per year.

0.02453% of a body is a little hard to conceptualize though, still fairly abstract. Assuming the average person who died there weighed roughly 155 pounds - not a bad assumption since Wikipedia puts the average male weight at around 170 and female at 140, we'll just have to average it out but it's still within the realm of accuracy. So 0.02453% of a 155 pound (70.5 Kg) person gives you 0.038 pounds, roughly 17 grams. Now we're getting somewhere.

17 grams of person per year of driving a hummer. 17 grams. Let's break out the food scale. It's a little hard to weigh individual portions of your body but you can cut pretty close approximations from a chunk of chicken. 17 grams is conveniently a roughly pinky sized chunk of chicken.

A pinky per year of driving a hummer. I'm picturing the reaction of getting that in the mail.

I know, I know, it's all shock value. And really, a god fearing red blooded American hummer driver really only cares about American deaths. And with a paltry 704 soldiers killed during 2006 (not an exceptionally high number) those 400 gallons only break down to 0.00075% of a solider, roughly 0.00135 pounds or just over half a gram of corpse per year on your conscience hummer driver.

Half a gram. That's not even measurable in body parts.


Precisely why we should move to the best of our alternative fuel options: baby seals.

So 15,000 miles at 10 miles per gallon is how many gallons?

right, I forgot I forgot to recalc gas usage at the worst rating (I'd intially given the benefit of the doubt at 15mpg)

You shouldn't put all god beievers in with that guy. I am christian but i totally agree. I drive a V4 mercury tracer and it gets me where i need to go. That guy is probably just compensating for something.

Morbid indeed.


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