Carbon Dioxide Emission from Passenger Vehicles



  1. What factors contribute to the amount of CO2 your vehicle emits each year?
  2. What factors contribute to the amount of CO2 all US passenger cars emit each year?
  3. What changes might lead to a decrease in CO2 emissions?


General Information
This "question and answer" is from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center web site,

Q. Could you tell me, please, if I have 1 gallon of fuel in my car, how many (units?) of CO2 will be emitted? Is there any difference if the car 4 or 6 or 8 cylinders or in respect of horse power in percentage?

A. A good estimate is that you will discharge 19.6 pounds of CO2 from burning 1 gallon of gasoline. This does not depend on the power or configuration of the engine but depends only on the chemistry of the fuel. Of course if the car gets more miles per gallon of gasoline, you will get less CO2 per unit of service rendered (that is, less CO2 per mile traveled).

Mathematical concepts and skills needed

For a brief review of each concept, click on the appropriate link.

Tool Chest Operations

If you have not used the tool chest applets, see the demo modules.


For this application, retrieve the gasoline consumption function you constructed in the previous part of this study. If you did not do the previous section or if you want to check you answers, click .

  1. Write a function describing the amount of CO2 emitted per year by all US passenger cars.
  2. Graph the function.
  3. Predict the number of pounds of CO2 emitted by US passenger cars in 2005.
  4. Predict when the CO2 emissions will reach 4000 billion pounds.

Examine solutions and implications

  1. What changes would reduce the predicted CO2 levels?
  2. What is a reasonable domain for your function?