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.

According to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, what is the average miles per gallon (mpg) required for new cars, SUVs, and light trucks (combined) by 2025?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The most recent federal efficiency standards, finalized by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012, are projected to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025, while also reducing CO2 emissions. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The most recent federal efficiency standards, finalized by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012, are projected to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025, while also reducing CO2 emissions. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The most recent federal efficiency standards, finalized by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012, are projected to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025, while also reducing CO2 emissions. 

  • Correct!

    The most recent federal efficiency standards, finalized by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012, are projected to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025, while also reducing CO2 emissions. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The most recent federal efficiency standards, finalized by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012, are projected to increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025, while also reducing CO2 emissions. 

How many gallons of water are required to hydraulically fracture a well, on average in the U.S.?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The national average is around 1.5 million gallons per well , according to the EPA.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The national average is around 1.5 million gallons per well , according to the EPA.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    The national average is around 1.5 million gallons per well , according to the EPA.

  • Correct!

    The national average is around 1.5 million gallons per well , according to the EPA.

Energy intensity is a measure of:

  • Correct!

    Energy intensity is a measure of a nation's energy efficiency represented through energy use per unit of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Energy intensity is a measure of a nation's energy efficiency represented through energy use per unit of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Energy intensity is a measure of a nation's energy efficiency represented through energy use per unit of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

On average, how much solar radiation reaches each square meter of earth?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with enough energy in a single square meter to run a mid-size desktop computer-if all the sunlight could be captured and converted to electricity.

  • Correct!

    On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with enough energy in a single square meter to run a mid-size desktop computer-if all the sunlight could be captured and converted to electricity.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    On average, even after passing through hundreds of kilometers of air on a clear day, solar radiation reaches Earth with enough energy in a single square meter to run a mid-size desktop computer-if all the sunlight could be captured and converted to electricity.

If electricity production wastes between 40 and 65% of the primary energy source, why is it used?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Most direct uses of primary energy are limited to generating heat and motion. Electricity, by contrast, is extremely versatile, with a wide range of complex applications. 

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Most direct uses of primary energy are limited to generating heat and motion. Electricity, by contrast, is extremely versatile, with a wide range of complex applications. 

  • Correct!

    Most direct uses of primary energy are limited to generating heat and motion. Electricity, by contrast, is extremely versatile, with a wide range of complex applications. 

Which of the following is not considered to be a drawback to wind energy?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    While wind energy has many benefits, all of the above are considered drawbacks to wind energy.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    While wind energy has many benefits, all of the above are considered drawbacks to wind energy.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    While wind energy has many benefits, all of the above are considered drawbacks to wind energy.

  • Correct!

    While wind energy has many benefits, all of the above are considered drawbacks to wind energy.

Which residential usage consumes the largest amount of energy?

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Consuming the largest amount of energy, space heating accounts for 31% of all residential energy used. Space cooling accounts for an additional 12% of energy usage.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Consuming the largest amount of energy, space heating accounts for 31% of all residential energy used. Space cooling accounts for an additional 12% of energy usage.

  • Correct!

    Consuming the largest amount of energy, space heating accounts for 31% of all residential energy used. Space cooling accounts for an additional 12% of energy usage.

  • Sorry, that’s incorrect.

    Consuming the largest amount of energy, space heating accounts for 31% of all residential energy used. Space cooling accounts for an additional 12% of energy usage.

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.

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Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

A colorless, odorless, non-poisonous gas consisting of one carbon and two oxygen atoms. A by-product of fossil fuel combustion and other industrial processes, it is considered a greenhouse gas because it traps heat (infrared energy) radiated from Earth within the atmosphere. For this reason, CO2 is believed to be a major contributor to human-induced climate change.

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