What is your CO2 emission? In this exercise, you are calculating your annual
emission of CO2, based on your electricity (assuming the only major CO2 emitting
fuel used in California is natural gas) use and transportation.
1. Natural gas is mostly methane (CH4). When it is burned, it reacts with
oxygen in the air in a combustion reaction.
1. Write and balance the equation for the combustion of natural gas:
In CA, natural gas is used for generating electricity, heating homes,
and cooking. 47% of electricity generated in CA uses natural gas. It is
also the main fuel used for heat and cooking. On average, each
person in CA uses 1621 m3 of natural gas per year for heat,
cooking, and electricity.
Based on the balanced combustion reaction you wrote, calculate how much
CO2 (in kg) you emit from your natural gas use. Calculate density of
methane at 1 atm and 18 oC temperature.
2. Gasoline is mostly octane (C8H18). When it is burned, it reacts with oxygen
in the air in a combustion reaction.
1. Write and balance the equation for the (complete) combustion of
2. In CA, gasoline is the main fuel used for motor vehicles. The amount
of gasoline someone uses per year can vary greatly from person to
3. Estimate the number of miles driven per year using the questions below: (It
still counts even if you are not the one driving!)
1. How far do you live away from school in miles? (Google if needed)
38 miles away
2. We have approximately 160 days of school per year, how many miles
of riding/driving would that be for a whole year? (0 miles if you walk
to school, but not if you ride the bus!)
Total miles to and from school (per year): 12,160 miles
3. If you have a job, how far do you ride/drive to get there? 3.2 miles
4. How many days a week do you work? Use this to figure out how many
trips you make to work ; adjust if you work more in the summer)
Total miles to and from work (per year): 666 miles
5. Do you make any other regular trips by car (visiting friends, family,
vacation, etc.)? Estimate how many miles as best as you can.
Extra miles for regular trips: 300 miles
6. Add up the total miles you ride/drive per year: 13,126 miles
7. The average vehicle in the U.S. gets around 21.6 miles per gallon of
gasoline. Calculate how many gallons of gas you use based on your
yearly mileage (if you know the exact mpg of your vehicle you can use
that, if not use the average above):
Gallons of gasoline used per year: 538,166 gallons
8. 1 gallon is equal to 3.785 L. Calculate how many liters of gasoline
Liters of gasoline used per year: 2037179.918 L
9. The density of gasoline is 0.7 kg/L. How many kilograms of gasoline
Kilograms of gasoline used per year: 2037179.92 Kg
Kg of 𝐶𝑂!
1. What is your carbon footprint (in pounds of CO2)? total
2. How does your carbon footprint compare to the US average of 45,000 lbs
CO2 per year?
3. How does your carbon footprint compare to the world average of 8,800 lbs
CO2 per year?
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