Advertisement

Things We Read, And Like: 'Why We Need Energy Literacy'

Follow John

Energy classroom, courtesy of USACE Europe District

Energy classroom, courtesy of USACE Europe District

Enlarge Photo

Many readers on this site are concerned with miles per gallon, or how much fuel their car uses.

And while any site called Green Car Reports is bound to have an environmental tilt, most car buyers are far more concerned with saving money than saving the planet.

Nonetheless, we're all about making educated choices. And a writer we admire, GigaOm's Katie Fehrenbacher, recently published a piece we highly recommend, called "Why We Need Energy Literacy."

It describes an effort by several U.S. government agencies, among them the Department of Energy, to create a "guiding document" for an Energy Literacy curriculum to be used in education, similar to projects now underway for Climate Literacy and Ocean Literacy.

The need for energy literacy is pretty clear to anyone who covers the field, and it's backed up with data. Most people underestimate the energy used for central air conditioning, for instance, but overestimate the impact of turning off lights and riding public transportation.

Or, returning to a theme that will be familiar to our regular readers, they don't understand how the flawed miles-per-gallon measure actually works.

As studies at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business have documented, two-thirds of consumers consumers thought fuel consumption was cut at an even rate as mileage increased. Most survey respondents said going from 34 to 50 mpg saved more gasoline over 10,000 miles than did moving from 18 to 28 mpg.

Unfortunately, that's exactly backwards. An associated website, "The MPG Illusion," lays out the research and the results. Based on its rather dispiriting conclusions, we'd be all in favor of greater energy literacy among the populace at large, and in particular car buyers.

Fehrenbacher lays out some of the challenges and issues around creating the base document, and notes that she was asked to join the discussion to help make the final result as digestible and accessible to the public at large as it could be.

Which, frankly, we find encouraging. Well worth a read, in any case.

[hat tip: Nelson Ireson; image courtesy of USACE Europe District]

Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (3)
  1. What if our home electricity meters were INSIDE the house inside of outside. And in a prominent place? You'd see that little wheel spinning away like crazy, and pretty soon you'd get very familiar with what makes it go slower (hint, turning off lights doesn't help much, turning off the A/C does!)
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. Yes, I couldn't agree more. With the current condition of the ozone layer and the state of global warming, more people needs to have energy literacy. The general public should be informed of household products and appliances that are environmentally friendly and gives alternative energy. Info about electric vehicles, solar powered household items, and "green" technology can be found in a site called Organic Mechanic. You should go check it out. Just my two cents. Good day!
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. On the miles per gallon thing.. that is designed simply to tell people at a glance how far a gallon will take em.. Its simple and works well for exactly what it was designed to do waaaay back when. What we realy need is a dollars per 10000 miles driven focus people;/

    As for what saves electricity... thats mostly because people factor in the very obvious fact they arnt turning off the freaking ac they are turning off the lights...
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement

Find Green Cars

Go!
Advertisement

Advertisement

 
© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by Homestar, LLC.