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.

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.

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.

As an automobile fuel, what amount of hydrogen compares with a gallon of gasoline?

  • Correct!

    A gallon of gasoline contains about the same energy as a kg of hydrogen. Although fuel cells are expected to be twice as efficient as gasoline vehicles, hydrogen is very diffuse and storing an ample supply on board represents an engineering challenge.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    A gallon of gasoline contains about the same energy as 1 kg of hydrogen. Although fuel cells are expected to be twice as efficient as gasoline vehicles, hydrogen is very diffuse and storing an ample supply on board represents an engineering challenge.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    A gallon of gasoline contains about the same energy as 1 kg of hydrogen. Although fuel cells are expected to be twice as efficient as gasoline vehicles, hydrogen is very diffuse and storing an ample supply on board represents an engineering challenge.

Which of the following sources do experts expect will provide us with the “silver bullet” solution to our energy needs?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    There is no silver bullet. Tomorrow’s energy, like today’s, will come from a variety of sources.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    There is no silver bullet. Tomorrow’s energy, like today’s, will come from a variety of sources.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    There is no silver bullet. Tomorrow’s energy, like today’s, will come from a variety of sources.

  • Correct!

    There is no silver bullet. Tomorrow’s energy, like today’s, will come from a variety of sources.

Which source(s) of energy are not nuclear in origin?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Tidal energy is gravitational in origin. Solar energy comes from nuclear reactions in the sun.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Tidal energy is gravitational in origin. Geothermal energy comes from radioactive decay inside the earth.

  • Correct!

    Tidal energy is gravitational in origin. Solar energy comes from nuclear reactions in the sun, and geothermal energy comes from radioactive decay inside the earth.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Tidal energy is gravitational in origin. Solar energy comes from nuclear reactions in the sun, and geothermal energy comes from radioactive decay inside the earth.

In 2008, what percentage of the United States' total energy consumption came from oil?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, 37% of the United States' total energy consumption came from oil, more than any other energy source.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, 37% of the United States' total energy consumption came from oil, more than any other energy source.

  • Correct!

    In 2008, 37% of the United States' total energy consumption came from oil, more than any other energy source.

The consumption of energy worldwide is projected to rise by how much between 2006 and 2030?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Worldwide consumption of energy sources is projected to rise by nearly 50% between 2006 and 2030.

  • Correct!

    Worldwide consumption of energy sources is projected to rise by nearly 50% between 2006 and 2030.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Worldwide consumption of energy sources is projected to rise by nearly 50% between 2006 and 2030.

Which renewable energy source contributed the most to the total energy consumed in the United States in 2008?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Out of all the renewable energy sources, biomass contributed the most to U.S. energy consumption in 2008.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Out of all the renewable energy sources, biomass contributed the most to U.S. energy consumption in 2008.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Out of all the renewable energy sources, biomass contributed the most to U.S. energy consumption in 2008.

  • Correct!

    Out of all the renewable energy sources, biomass contributed the most to U.S. energy consumption in 2008.

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Energy Hands-on

Energy Defined

Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE)

Federal standards that stipulate a target average fuel economy rating (typically expressed in miles per gallon, or mpg) to be met by passenger vehicles by a certain date. The most recent version of the CAFE law, pending passage by Congress, requires new cars, SUVs, and light trucks to average 35.5 mpg by 2016.

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