Passage 3 | Energy
Three Major Fossil Fuels
Globally, the most commonly consumed source of energy is oil, which is estimated to make up approximately 40 percent of the world’s energy demand. Found in natural underground reservoirs, oil is a thick, dark liquid that is recovered from the ground through pumping and drilling processes. It has been profitably extracted from many its liquid form makes it relatively easy to transport; these two characteristics of oil have contributed to the development of an enormous international industry based on the production and distribution of this fuel. Oil is an extremely valuable commodity, used to create plastics, chemicals, and 90 percent of the fuel that powers vehicles. Unfortunately, the combustion of oil releases carbon dioxide pollutants into the environment.
At one time, coal was the world’s primary source of fuel. Although it currently accounts for a smaller percentage of global energy consumption than oil, coal is still a major fossil fuel. The extraction process for coal differs from the drilling method of extraction used for oil because coal is a sedimentary rock, as opposed to a liquid, and therefore must be mined. More abundant than any other fossil fuel, coal has been a major source of energy for many years, contributing significantly to the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution. Although the applications of coal have changed since the introduction of the internal combustion engine decreased the need for coal to power steam engines, it is still a heavily exploited energy source. In the United States, it powers 50 percent of the electricity the country uses, whereas oil generates only 2 percent of the country’s electricity. However, compared to oil, coal is a heavier pollutant, releasing more carbon dioxide per unit of energy.
Comprising a percentage of global energy consumption similar to coal, natural gas is a fossil fuel that occurs in a gaseous form. Natural gas is recovered from underground reservoirs when pockets of gas are drilled into and pressure is applied in order to force it to the surface. Because rt is a gas, this form of fossil fuel has not been as widely utilized as coal and oil, and for some time it was considered to be nothing more than a byproduct of oil; until recently, transporting natural gas was expensive and required complex pipeline systems that limited the potential transportation range. However, new technology has made it possible to cool natural gas into a liquid form (LNG). As a liquid, natural gas can be distributed using systems similar to those used for oil. [A] As an energy source, natural gas can be used in diverse ways. [B] It helps produce electricity, fuels vehicles, and meets household energy needs—for example in cooking and heating.[C] In terms of pollution, natural gas is a cleaner fossil fuel; when burned it releases 30 percent less carbon dioxide than oil and 45 percent less carbon dioxide than coal.[D]
In spite of these differences, oil, coal, and natural gas can be grouped in a single category as fossil fuels and, as such, share many similarities. Two problematic issues common to oil, coal, and natural gas are related to the finite supplies of fossil fuels 5 and the health risks associated with these fuel sources. As the three major sources of global energy, oil, coal, and natural gas account for approximately 87 percent of the world’s energy consumption. Because global o energy demands are constantly rising while these nonrenewable fossil fuel reserves are depleted, in the future, humanity will be facing severe energy crises if it does not change the way resources like natural gas, coal, and oil is are consumed. Another drawback of fossil- fuel use is the intrinsic health risk. Oil, for example, contains carcinogenic chemicals, a serious problem when populated areas are contaminated with petroleum. In the coal M industry, miners face many health risks: coal dust causes a lung disease known as “black lung.”
28. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
(A) The oil industry would not have thrived if the cost of extracting the fuel were any higher than it is currently.
(B) The relatively low cost of extracting oil and the ease of transporting the fuel have helped create a global oil industry.
(C) Oil has been sold, distributed, and produced internationally as a cheap, effective fuel that can be easily stored and transported.
(D) An international business system like the oil industry becomes successful rf its main product can be distributed and marketed cheaply.
29 According to paragraph 1, which of the following is true about extracting oil from the ground?
(A) It must be drawn out of the ground from subterranean pools.
(B) It must be gathered carefully because of its carbon dioxide content
(C) It must be liquefied before it can be easily removed.
(D) It must be transported immediately after it reaches the surface.
30. What can be inferred from paragraph 2 about coal?
(A) It was most widely used when it powered steam engines.
(B) It is currently the most commonly used fossil fuel.
(C) Its usage is declining because it causes pollution problems.
(D) It was the first fuel used to generate electricity.
31. The word it in the passage refers to
(A) internal combustion engine
(C) steam engine
32. The word Comprising in the passage is closest in meaning to
33. In paragraph 3, the author explains that natural gas is cleaner than other fossil fuels by
(A) stating the percentage of global energy consumption each fossil fuel accounts for
(B) comparing its primary uses with the uses of coal and oil
(C) describing the extraction processes for
oil, coal, and natural gas
(D) contrasting its carbon dioxide emissions with the emissions of oil and coal
34 What can be inferred from paragraph 3 about natural gas?
(A) Its gaseous form makes it difficult to transport.
(B) It does not release pollutants when burned.
(C) Its assorted applications make it expensive.
(D) It was discovered recently.
35. The word diverse in the passage is closest in meaning to
36. The word finite in the passage is closest in meaning to
37. In paragraph 4, why does the author mention
(A) To illustrate that the three major fossil fuels are similar in form
(B) To support the point that fossil fuels have the potential to damage people’s health
(C) To explain that some fossil-fuel producing countries are beginning to experience energy shortages
(D) To emphasize that fossil fuels are difficult to extract and are not economical sources of energy
38. The word intrinsic in the passage is closest in meaning to
39. Look at the four squares H that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.
In addition to these uses of natural gas, there are many potential applications that have not been fully realized yet.
Where would the sentence best fit?
Click on a square to the passage.
40. Directions: Complete the table by matching the phrases below.
Select the appropriate phrases from the answer choices and match them to the type of fossil fuel to which they relate. TWO of the answer choices will NOT be used. This question is worth 4 points.
(A) Is no longer the world’s dominant fuel source
(B) Is the most plentiful kind of fossil fuel
(C) Was once considered a mere byproduct
(D) Emits more carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels
(E) Can be transported in either liquid or gaseous form
(F) Is the predominant transportation fuel
(G) Is most commonly found in the U.S.
(H) Is the most widely used energy source
(I) Is classified as a renewable resource