Answer to Question #174401 in Mechanical Engineering for Ivy Ann Miller

Question #174401

Fermi Problem


If we could convert all the weight that dieters lose in the United States every year to

energy, how many gallons of gasoline would be its equivalent?

1
Expert's answer
2021-04-14T07:45:33-0400

One kilocalorie (kcal) is 4.18 kJ of energy. Carbohydrates and protein come in at 4 kcal/gram, while fat registers 9 kcal/g. For comparison, coal ranges from 4–7 kcal/g, gasoline is 10 kcal/g, and natural gas is 13 kcal/g. So fat is pretty much like gasoline.

We could use a gallon of lard for our fuel. This is truly the closest thing we could get to eating a gallon of gasoline proper. But we’ll tone it down and explore more standard fare.



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