Question Sheet: Revving Up Green Machines


Before reading:

  1. In what ways can cars be bad for the environment?
  2. What does “green” technology mean?

During reading:

  1. How does a hybrid vehicle work?
  2. What is a fuel cell? How does it work?
  3. What is the waste product of a fuel cell?
  4. Why aren’t there a large number of hydrogen-powered cars on the roads yet?
  5. How much money is the U.S. government pledging towards hydrogen fuel cell

    technology? See House).

  6. Why is a lighter car more environmentally friendly?
  7. Name three alternative fuel sources. See (U.S. Department of Energy).

After reading:

  1. One way of saving gas is to walk or carpool. Come up with two instances in your life in which you could help the environment by not using a car.
  2. Do you think that “green” cars will become more popular in the next few years than they are now? Why or why not?
  3. What do you think are the top five things that a car buyer considers when he or she looks for a car? How does a concern for the environment figure into these concerns? If you were trying to increase the sale of “green” cars, how would you market them?
  4. Compare the advantages of buying a new hybrid car with buying a cheaper used car? What would you recommend?
  5. If hydrogen fuel cells were readily available, what other uses could they have besides powering automobiles?
  6. Why would the U.S. government fund research on hydrogen fuel cells? Do you think that’s a good use of money? Why or why not?


  1. People in the United States generally drive a lot more than people in other countries. Why do you think that is?
  2. U.S. cars and trucks use large quantities of gasoline. Where does the gasoline come from? How is it transported from oil wells throughout the world to your local gas station? See (National Ocean Industries Association).


  1. Interview three people who drive to learn how they feel about hybrid or hydrogen-powered cars. What questions would you ask? Take the information you collect and write an article about people’s reaction to “green” cars.
  2. Which companies make hybrid cars? Make a chart listing hybrid cars now available for sale. For each vehicle, write down its gas mileage (miles per gallon), and its weight and length. Write a paragraph recommending the car that you think is the best one on the list. Explain why. See (


One of the main benefits of a hybrid car is its increased gas mileage. Suppose one such car goes 35.5 kilometers per liter of gasoline. What is the equivalent rate in miles per gallon? (Use 1 liter = 1.0567 quarts and 1 kilometer = 0.62137 miles.) If 10,000 of these vehicles are on the roads and each vehicle drives an average of 900 miles per month, how many gallons of fuel do they use altogether in 1 year?