Are the US fuel efficiency standards really “too high”?

Grade level: 5 – 6th grades

Skills: Bar graph

Related environmental issues: Energy & Climate Change

While former President Obama set high fuel efficiency* target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles,  the Trump administration has been trying to loosen the target, saying that the Obama’s target is “too high”. With higher fuel efficiency target, vehicles will be able to run more miles on a gallon of gasoline, and greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles will decrease.

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The bar graph above shows fuel efficiency target on model year 2020 passenger cars set by 8 countries / areas.

  1. Among the 8 countries / areas, which country set the highest fuel efifciency target?
  2. Among the 8 countries / areas, which country set the lowest fuel efifciency target?
  3. Which county has the same fuel efficiency target as the United States?
  4. Among the 8 countries, how many countries set higher fuel efficiency target than the United States?

Note) Fuel efficiency is a measure of how many miles a vehicle can travel on a gallon of gasoline. Fuel efficient vehicles need less gasoline to go a given distance.

Note2) Japan already achieved the target by 2013. (Global Fuel Economy Initiative, 2014. Fuel Economy State of the World 2014)

Source) The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), 2017. 2017 Global update: Light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards


Answer keys

  1. South Korea
  2. South Africa
  3. Canada
  4. 5 countries





People in what state emitted the most CO2 to generate electricity?

Grade level: 3rd – 4th grades

Skills: Bar graph 

Related environmental issues: Climate Change

The United States depend on fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum) for electricity generation. When burned, fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide (CO2).  The bar graph below shows the five states that emitted the most carbon dioxide per person from the use of fossil fuels in the United States in 2015.

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  1. Which state emitted the most CO2 per person from burning fossil fuels?
  2. Because of dependence of fossil fuels, which state emitted more CO2 per person, North Dakota or Alaska ?
  3. How many states emitted more than 60 metric tons of CO2 per person by the use of fossil fuels?


Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emission by State, 2000-2015 (Table 5) 


Answer keys

1. Wyoming

2. North Dakota

3. Two states