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: 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.

What percentage of U.S. electricity was generated by wind in 2008?

  • Correct!

    Almost 1% of U.S. electricity was generated by wind in 2008.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Almost 1% of U.S. electricity was generated by wind in 2008.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Almost 1% of U.S. electricity was generated by wind in 2008.

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.

What percentage of America's total energy came from wind in 2008?

  • Correct!

    In 2008, wind accounted for 0.5% of America's energy portfolio.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, wind accounted for 0.5% of America's energy portfolio.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    In 2008, wind accounted for 0.5% of America's energy portfolio.

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.

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.

According to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards updated in December 2007, what is the average miles per gallon (mpg) required for new cars, SUVs, and light trucks (combined) by 2020?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Based upon the 2007 CAFE standards, the new average mpg required by 2020 is 35 mpg.

  • Correct!

    Based upon the 2007 CAFE standards, the new average mpg required by 2020 is 35 mpg.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Based upon the 2007 CAFE standards, the new average mpg required by 2020 is 35 mpg.

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 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.

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Clean Coal

Coal burned in power plants equipped with technologies that greatly reduce the emission of pollutants such as sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, and, potentially, carbon dioxide.

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