Are too many Americans too fat to fit into compact cars?

Many Europeans like small cars.

And many of these drivers are typically small, agile and fit -- just like their cars.

While the steep price of gasoline in Europe contributes to compact car popularity, many Europeans are physically comfortable driving compacts. Whereas a recent published report says the physically bigger Americans are not.

I'm not telling you anything new when I say America has an obesity problem.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define obesity as having a body mass index of 30 or greater. Nine states report obesity rates of over 30 percent, the CDC's Web site states.

According to a report on AOL Autos, one analyst says it's futile for automakers to expect Americans to embrace small cars. Many U.S. waistlines are just too darn wide for those drivers to fit comfortably in the tight space and feel safe.

Dan Cheng, head of the automotive practice at consulting firm A.T. Kearney, told AOL Autos that unless Americans collectively go on a diet, most U.S. drivers will keep driving big vehicles regardless of the future price of gasoline.

Yet here we are in a year where the U.S. average gasoline price is about $3.78 per gallon, according to AAA.

And several automakers are counting on redesigned or updated compact cars to help support sales. There's the Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, Ford Fiesta and Focus, and Subaru Impreza to list a few.

I bet the U.S. weight problem creates all sorts of headaches for the engineers who design small car interiors. But sales aren't the only thing driving automakers to downsize their fleets.

President Obama wants to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil. He's promised a one-third slash in oil imports by 2025. That means smaller cars and alternative fuels are going to be necessary.

Good thing his wife is waging a war on childhood obesity because when those kids grow up, they are going to have to fit into smaller cars -- likely run on alternative fuels -- whether they like it or not.

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