The National Academies

The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Energy

What You Need To Know About Energy

What do you know about energy?

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.

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.

The United States is home to how many of the world's automobiles?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    With less than 5% of the world's population, the United States is home to one-third of the world's automobiles.

  • Correct!

    With less than 5% of the world's population, the United States is home to one-third of the world's automobiles.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    With less than 5% of the world's population, the United States is home to one-third of the world's automobiles.

Combustion of gasoline and diesel fuel emits which of the following?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

  • Correct!

    All of the above are emitted by vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuel.

What type of transportation uses the most total energy?

  • Correct!

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    By far the largest share of energy in transportation is consumed by cars, light trucks, and motorcycles—about 58% in 2012, followed by other trucks (21%), aircraft (9%), boats and ships (3%), and trains and buses (3%). Pipelines account for 3% and military uses for 2%.

In 2014, how much of the world's CO2 is released by the United States?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The United States emits about 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases, behind only China, which accounts for approximately one-quarter of total global emissions. 

  • Correct!

    The United States emits about 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases, behind only China, which accounts for approximately one-quarter of total global emissions. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The United States emits about 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases, behind only China, which accounts for approximately one-quarter of total global emissions. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The United States emits about 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases, behind only China, which accounts for approximately one-quarter of total global emissions. 

Between 1980 and 2012, after fuel economy standards where put in place, which of the following has happened to vehicles?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Improved vehicle efficiency has allowed for increases in weight, horsepower and fuel economy.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Improved vehicle efficiency has allowed for increases in weight, horsepower and fuel economy.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Improved vehicle efficiency has allowed for increases in weight, horsepower and fuel economy.

  • Correct!

    Improved vehicle efficiency has allowed for increases in weight, horsepower and fuel economy.

On average, which is most efficient in coverting heat into electic power?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, a typical coal-burning power plant in 2013 was about 33% efficient in converting heat energy into electrical power. A gas-fired plant was about 42% efficient. And in natural gas combined-cycle power plants—in which waste heat from a natural gas turbine is used to power a steam turbine—generation may be as much as 60% efficient.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, a typical coal-burning power plant in 2013 was about 33% efficient in converting heat energy into electrical power. A gas-fired plant was about 42% efficient. And in natural gas combined-cycle power plants—in which waste heat from a natural gas turbine is used to power a steam turbine—generation may be as much as 60% efficient.

  • Correct!

    On average, a typical coal-burning power plant in 2013 was about 33% efficient in converting heat energy into electrical power. A gas-fired plant was about 42% efficient. And in natural gas combined-cycle power plants—in which waste heat from a natural gas turbine is used to power a steam turbine—generation may be as much as 60% efficient.

True or false? Wind energy generation is increasing in the United States.

  • Correct!

    In the United States, the amount of electricity generated from wind doubled between 2009 and 2014, and now makes up 18% of all renewable energy consumed and almost 2% of total U.S. energy use. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In the United States, the amount of electricity generated from wind doubled between 2009 and 2014, and now makes up 18% of all renewable energy consumed and almost 2% of total U.S. energy use. 

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