The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Energy

The National Academies

What You Need To Know About Energy

What do you know about energy?

How much carbon dioxide is emitted by the average U.S. car driving one mile?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The average U.S. car gets 21.4 mpg. About 19 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted for every gallon burned, or 0.9 lb/mile.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The average U.S. car gets 21.4 mpg. About 19 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted for every gallon burned, or 0.9 lb/mile.

  • Correct!

    The average U.S. car gets 21.4 mpg. About 19 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted for every gallon burned, or 0.9 lb/mile.

About how much of the world's coal reserves are located in the United States?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    More than a quarter of the world's coal reserves are located in the United States.

  • Correct!

    More than a quarter of the world's coal reserves are located in the United States.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    More than a quarter of the world's coal reserves are located in the United States.

Which of the following energy sources releases carbon dioxide when burned?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas all release CO2 when burned.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas all release CO2 when burned.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas all release CO2 when burned.

  • Correct!

    Gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas all release CO2 when burned.

Which of the following is frequently used as a unit of measurement for the energy content of fuels?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The British Thermal Unit, or Btu, is frequently used as a measure for energy content of fuels. One gallon of gasoline contains about 124,000 Btu.

  • Correct!

    The British Thermal Unit, or Btu, is frequently used as a measure for energy content of fuels. One gallon of gasoline contains about 124,000 Btu.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The British Thermal Unit, or Btu, is frequently used as a measure for energy content of fuels. One gallon of gasoline contains about 124,000 Btu.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The British Thermal Unit, or Btu, is frequently used as a measure for energy content of fuels. One gallon of gasoline contains about 124,000 Btu.

True or False: Burning coal in electric power plants is a major source of CO2 and other emissions. However, its use doesn't have negative consequences beyond the emissions caused by combustion.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Mining coal disturbs the land and modifies the chemistry of rainwater runoff, which in turn affects stream and river water quality.

  • Correct!

    Mining coal disturbs the land and modifies the chemistry of rainwater runoff, which in turn affects stream and river water quality.

True or False: Burning biofuels does not release carbon dioxide.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Biofuels contain carbon and although they may burn “cleaner” than oil-derived fuels, they do not avoid generating carbon dioxide emissions.

  • Correct!

    Biofuels contain carbon and although they may burn “cleaner” than oil-derived fuels, they do not avoid generating carbon dioxide emissions.

Nuclear power provided what percentage of the total U.S. energy supply in 2008?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Nuclear power accounted for 9% of the U.S. energy supply in 2008.

  • Correct!

    Nuclear power accounted for 9% of the U.S. energy supply in 2008.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Nuclear power accounted for 9% of the U.S. energy supply in 2008.

In 2008, approximately how much of the oil used in the U.S. was imported?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, the U.S. imported about 66% of its oil supply. This percentage is expected to grow even higher over the next two decades.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, the U.S. imported about 66% of its oil supply. This percentage is expected to grow even higher over the next two decades.

  • Correct!

    In 2008, the U.S. imported about 66% of its oil supply. This percentage is expected to grow even higher over the next two decades.

Of the following fossil fuels, which is typically the least expensive for its energy content?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2005, a million Btu of energy from coal cost approximately $2, versus $5 for natural gas and $10 for oil. However, prices can fluctuate due to changes in the economy and new government policies.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2005, a million Btu of energy from coal cost approximately $2, versus $5 for natural gas and $10 for oil. However, prices can fluctuate due to changes in the economy and new government policies.

  • Correct!

    In 2005, a million Btu of energy from coal cost approximately $2, versus $5 for natural gas and $10 for oil. However, prices can fluctuate due to changes in the economy and new government policies.

In 2008, of the four economic sectors, which used the most energy in the United States?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, industry used 31% of the total energy used; next was transportation at 28%, then residential at 22%, and commercial at 19%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, industry used 31% of the total energy used; next was transportation at 28%, then residential at 22%, and commercial at 19%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, industry used 31% of the total energy used; next was transportation at 28%, then residential at 22%, and commercial at 19%.

  • Correct!

    In 2008, industry used 31% of the total energy used; next was transportation at 28%, then residential at 22%, and commercial at 19%.

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Energy Hands-on

Energy Defined

Particulate Matter

Extremely small particles of solid or liquid droplets suspended in either a liquid or gas. Particulate matter is a common emission from the combustion of fossil fuels and can increase the risk of health problems. Examples include dust, smoke, aerosols, and other fine particles.

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