Running extra: In solving for X, not always is there just one approach

Okay, so the other day, I was reading this article* and contained in it I discovered a reference having to do with an equivalency, in this case methane escaping or leaking from gas stoves and how that could equate to carbon dioxide emanating from the exhaust pipes of automobiles whose engines operate on the principle of internal combustion. At least, that’s how I understood it.

What it essentially came down to (as I see it) is that leaking methane from gas ovens and stoves inside American’s homes is equivalent to that of the carbon dioxide emissions produced from approximately 500,000 so-called “typical” gas-powered motor vehicles operated on roads in the U.S. What we’re talking about here, really, is the impact these gas appliances and autos have on climate. I believe this is what the basis was of this point being made.

Piquing my interest, I wanted to learn more. A lot more. So what did I do? I made some inquiries.

First things first, what was suggested was that I access one particular source, in this case an EPA source, the focus of which was on matters dealing with information as it specifically related to the amount of carbon dioxide released annually into air in the United States from the “typical” automobile. That source: “Green Vehicle Guide: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Typical Passenger Vehicle.” (To learn more, visit: This was, for my purposes, an appropriate place to begin my research.

As it relates, the stated CO2 emitted from the “typical” gas-powered motor vehicle in question operated on American roadways: “4.6 metric tons” per year.

Other data I was able to learn was that per gallon of gasoline burned, emitted into the atmosphere is 8,887 grams of CO2 and that for the “typical” car operated in America, a fuel economy rating of 22.0 miles per gallon of gasoline and a yearly driving distance of 11,500 miles were used. In solving for the carbon dioxide emitted per vehicle, this equation: CO2 per gallon/miles per gallon x miles = CO2 emissions, was utilized. When plugging in all the pertinent numbers, the figure of 4.6 metric CO2 tons was yielded. It is important to keep in mind that 1 million grams equals one metric ton which is also equal to 2,204.62 pounds.

Which gets us to the juncture of determining the carbon dioxide exhaust output for half a million “typical” motor vehicles in the U.S.

Using 4.6 metric tons, I multiplied this times 500,000 and, voila, I got the answer I was looking for: 2.3 million metric CO2 tons per year.

Then I got to wondering if there was a different, perhaps easier, way of getting the same result.

Based on what I had heard, for every gallon of gasoline burned, released into the air is 19.64 pounds of CO2.

So, if one were to drive a “typical” car in the U.S. a distance of 11,500 miles in a year’s time, to travel that distance would take 522.73 gallons of gasoline. Then, if I multiply that amount by 500,000, the answer comes out to 261,363,636 gallons of gasoline burned. Since every gasoline gallon burned releases 19.64 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air, by multiplying that number times 261,363,636, this works out to roughly 5.133 billion pounds of CO2 released. And, being that a metric tons equals 2,204.62 pounds, then in dividing 5.133 billion by 2,204.62, this will give you your answer in metric tons, in this case 2,328,374.87 metric tons of CO2.

To that end, that one end result matches the other.

Therefore, being the two different calculating methods support each other, how cool is that?!

* “Gas Stoves Emit Pollutants. Here’s How They Impact Your Health.” by Buzzfeed News Reporter Katie Camero.

Accompanying image on corresponding, connected home-page entry: AndrewHorne

– Alan Kandel

Copyrighted material.

2 thoughts on “Running extra: In solving for X, not always is there just one approach”

  1. Why is the number, with no mention of methane produced to prepare oil and natural gas for generating electricity for electric stoves, particularly relevant?

    Biodegradation in landfills produces something like 150 gigatonnes of methane per year worldwide. All oil and gas production produces about 15 gigatonnes. Yet we love biodegradables and hate natural gas.

    Neither of these numbers is particularly accurate, btw. Data is hard to get. Would gas stoves burning green hydrogen never make sense as an interim solution?

    BTW, I may be the last person alive who worked on indoor air pollution measurement methods for EPA over 40 years ago. I regard the latest round of “scientific” studies of gas stove health and environmental impacts laughably absurd.

    • As to your last point, if you feel that way, I see no reason why you couldn’t write a clarification piece for posting online to, as it were, set the record straight. As I see it, that’s always an option.

      That said, thank you for sharing your thoughts in the “Comments” section.

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