Last updated: February 25, 2020
Math Skill: Multiplication Decimals
Grade level: 5th grades
Area level: National-scale
Environmental Area: Energy / Climate Change
Purpose: Understand the concept of fuel economy
BACKGROUND FOR THE TEACHER
Burning oil (gasoline or diesel) in motor vehicles is the biggest cause of air pollution in the United States. How much gasoline your car uses is strongly connected to how dirty the air in your area is. If your car can run longer using the same amount of gasoline as your friend’s car, your car sends less air polluting gases into the air. That means your car is better at keeping our air clean. Fuel economy tells us how far a car can go on using one gallon of gasoline. The farther a car can go, the better fuel economy it has.
The U.S. Department of Energy provides information on the fuel economy of cars sold in the United States. You will be able to find out fuel economy of your car on their website. It also offers a ranking of the most and least efficient cars, as well as information on hybrid and electric vehicles.
The vehicles that burn gasoline and diesel fuel are still the main form of transportation. However, there are also vehicles in the market that use less or no gasoline and therefore emit less or no direct air pollutants.
Hybrid–electric vehicles combine gasoline engines and electric motors to improve fuel efficiency. Hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius produce 90% less air pollutants than traditional cars.
Electric vehicles (EVs)
Electric vehicles (EVs) are powered by an electric motor. Because they do not either use or burn fossil fuels, electric vehicles emit no direct air pollution.
EV Charging Stations in Evansville
The City of Evansville’s first municipal electric vehicle charging station was installed in 2011 for public use in the Sycamore Street Parking Garage, located at 500 Sycamore St. in Downtown Evansville. The charging station was purchased with Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funds from the U.S. Department of Energy.Energy Systems Group, LLC, of Newburgh, Ind., donated two additional electric vehicle charging stations which were installed at the Locust Street Parking Garage and the Third Street Parking Garage. The charging stations are part of a larger energy efficiency project. The electricity needed to recharge an electric vehicle at one of these charging stations is offered at no cost to the vehicle owner.
Photo: Former Mayor Weinzapfel charging a Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle
worksheet & answer key
*The amount of gasoline was calculated using the fuel economy data from the U.S. Department of Energy.
*It is based on an assumption that all families drove the same distance of 300 miles (one way) to Chicago.