Looking at the Impact of Fuel-efficiency

What kind of impact does your family have on total oil consumption? Can we look to conserving our supply of oil by simply using or consuming less? Legislators are investigating using their power to enact new laws governing fuel efficiency. Some experts report that improving the efficiency of vehicle fuel consumption could save us as much as a million barrels of oil a day.
In the U.S., 19.4 million barrels of oil is needed every day to power our vehicles. If oil drilling legislation is approved, sources estimate that regardless of how much oil there ultimately is, they have the technology to take out between 1 and 1.5 million barrels of oil a day from the Arctic region. This amount represents between 2-5% of the 19.4 million barrels we consume daily.

Take a look at your own fuel consumption. Cars vary greatly in the amount of gasoline they need to get around. What kind of energy demand does your family car put on the energy-demand picture? Think about how energy conservation might effect this big picture.

Personal Energy Audit
First, do some research to find out the following about your family car.
• My family's car gets ___ miles per gallon
• Our family drove ____ miles during the past per year.
• Our family burned _____ gallons of gas during the past year.

Now, imagine you own a a fuel-efficient 2002 Toyota Prius, whose rating is 50 miles per gallon.
If your family drives this fuel-efficient vehicle 12,000 miles a year:
My family would use ____ gallons a year with the fuel-efficient car.

Gas mileage on Different Car Models
Let's take a look at some other cars for comparison:

 Car Type Miles per Gallon A Chevrolet Suburban 4WD 14 B Dodge Caravan 18 C Subaru Forester 22 D Honda Civic 30

Calculate the number of gallons each car would need to travel 12,000 miles.
 Car Type Miles per Gallon Gallons/12,000 Miles A Chevrolet Suburban 4WD 14 B Dodge Caravan 18 C Subaru Forester 22 D Honda Civic 30

Then calculate how many more gallons you would need with Cars A-D than with the most fuel-efficient vehicle.
• My family would use ____ gallons more if we drove Car A
• My family would use ____ gallons more if we drove Car B
• My family would use ____ gallons more if we drove Car C
• My family would use ____ gallons more if we drove Car D

How much could we reduce our family's fuel consumption with the most fuel-efficient vehicle?
If we drove the most fuel-efficient vehicle, we would use ____ gallons in a year (12,000 miles).

• This means we could save ____ % compared to Car A
• This means we could save ____ % compared to Car B
• This means we could save ____ % compared to Car C
• This means we could save ____ % compared to Car D

Journaling Questions:
1. Were you surprised at the amount of fuel needed for different kinds of vehicles?
2. How much fuel would be consumed in a year if each family in your class drove the most fuel-efficient car?
3. How many gallons of gasoline would we conserve if we were able to conserve 1 million barrels of oil a day? (1 barrel of crude oil yields 19.5 gallons of gasoline.) If we all drove more fuel-efficient vehicles, do you think we could save a million barrels of oil a day?
4. Opening the ANWR for oil drilling could produce about a million barrels of oil a day. Do you think people would be willing to conserve fuel with efficient vehicles so the ANWR would be protected from development?