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?

True or False: U.S. domestic production of crude oil has declined since around 1970.

  • Correct!

    U.S. domestic production of crude oil peaked around 1970 at about 9.5 million barrels per day (MBD) and declined to about 5.1 MBD by 2006.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    U.S. domestic production of crude oil peaked around 1970 at about 9.5 million barrels per day (MBD) and declined to about 5.1 MBD by 2006.

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.

How much electricity does an average U.S. household consume each year?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The average U.S. household consumes an average of 10,000 kilowatt-hours each year.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The average U.S. household consumes an average of 10,000 kilowatt-hours each year.

  • Correct!

    The average U.S. household consumes an average of 10,000 kilowatt-hours each year.

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.

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.

Which of the following is not a primary energy source?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Electricity is a secondary energy source because it can only be produced from the use of primary energy sources such as coal, natural gas, or nuclear reactions.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Electricity is a secondary energy source because it can only be produced from the use of primary energy sources such as coal, natural gas, or nuclear reactions.

  • Correct!

    Electricity is a secondary energy source because it can only be produced from the use of primary energy sources such as coal, natural gas, or nuclear reactions.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Electricity is a secondary energy source because it can only be produced from the use of primary energy sources such as coal, natural gas, or nuclear reactions.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Electricity is a secondary energy source because it can only be produced from the use of primary energy sources such as coal, natural gas, or nuclear reactions.

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%.

Which primary energy source did we depend on the most to generate electricity in the United States in 2008?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, the United States depended most on coal to generate electricity. Coal provided approximately 49% of the electricity generated by the United States that year.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, the United States depended most on coal to generate electricity. Coal provided approximately 49% of the electricity generated by the United States that year.

  • Correct!

    In 2008, the United States depended most on coal to generate electricity. Coal provided approximately 49% of the electricity generated by the United States that year.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, the United States depended most on coal to generate electricity. Coal provided approximately 49% of the electricity generated by the United States that year.

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Energy Hands-on

Energy Defined

Greenhouse Gas

A gas which, like a greenhouse window, allows sunlight to enter and then prevents heat from escaping—in this case, from Earth’s atmosphere. The most common greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), halocarbons, and ozone (O3).

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