Position Paper Assignment:  Selecting a Green Automobile

 

Assignment Instructions

One of the most significant environmental decisions made by the average U.S. consumer is the type of motor vehicle they decide to purchase. The purpose of this exercise is twofold: to familiarize you with a WEB resource designed to help consumers make “greener” automobile purchasing decisions, and to raise your awareness regarding the environmental impact of your current driving practices AND of the future impact of the driving practices you aspire to.

Procedure

Part 1:  your dream vehicle

Imagine you won a contest and the winner (you) gets to have any vehicle they want at no charge.  But, you have to pay all vehicle-related expenses from the time of purchase onward. 

  1. Go to http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.htm
  2. Select a new (most recent model year for which data is available) motor vehicle (make and model) of your choice. Pretend money is no object!
  3. Record: MPG city, MPG highway, MPG combined, annual fuel costs
  4. Record: annual greenhouse gas emissions (click on “annual greenhouse gas emissions for full text explanation”)
  5. Record: EPA air pollution score (click on EPA air pollution score for full text explanation)

 

Part 2:  find the "best" in class

  1. Go to http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.htm
  2. Use the "search by class" function.  Indicate whether you used the "market class" or "EPA size class".  Determine which class your dream vehicle is in.   Identify the "best" vehicle in this class available in Wisconsin (presumably "best" will be the vehicle in the class with the best combination of fuel economy, greenhouse gas emissions, and EPA air pollution score available in Wisconsin).
  3. Record: MPG city, MPG highway, MPG combined, annual fuel costs
  4. Record: annual greenhouse gas emissions (click on “annual greenhouse gas emissions for full text explanation”)
  5. Record: EPA air pollution score (click on EPA air pollution score for full text explanation)

 

Part 3:  So what are you going to do?

For each bullet point below, in 250 words or less, answer these questions:

  1. Compare apples to apples.  How did your dream vehicle compare with the "best in class" as regards fuel economy and greenness?  Don't forget to indicate whether you used the "market class" or "EPA size class".  Compare MPG city, MPG highway, MPG combined, annual fuel costs, annual greenhouse gas emissions, and EPA air pollution scores.
  2. Now compare apples to oranges.  Using the same criteria as for question 3.1, compare the greenness of your dream vehicle to the Cadillac Escalade EXT AW, and the Toyota Prius.
  3. List and explain what other considerations besides fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions, and EPA air pollution scores, and I can think of quite a few, would influence your decision to purchase a particular vehicle?
  4. After completing this assignment, would you forgo your dream vehicle and buy the "best in class" or switch to a vehicle in a generally greener class of vehicle?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

 

Assignment

Based on your findings above, complete the online form. Fill in all information, and follow instructions on the form as closely as possible.

Grading: 50 points

note:  University level English usage and grammar is expected. Use a spell-checker.  Write sentences.  Organize sentences into paragraphs.  Paragraphs are composed of related sentences and have topic sentences.  Papers that don't meet these standards will not be graded. 

 

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Last Updated 17 Jan 03

Subject to change without notice