Road to Sustainability

Kunyi Li, Caroline Liu, Margaret Sands, and Arturo Chavez

The data say that fuel economy for consumer vehicles varies dramatically. Building upon the knowledge of CO2 emissions in our last sketch, we were interested to take a closer look at the heterogeneity in efficiency across cars models on the market, one of the leading sources of CO2. It is common knowledge that auto emissions contribute significantly to pollution, but it is less clear that people incorporate fuel economy and CO2 emission properly into their car purchasing decision. The fact is that some cars have dramatically better fuel economy than others (Toyota Prius travels >50 MPG in the city while Dodge Charger travels only 19 MPG). The long-term effect of this difference can be significant, but it’s gradual nature makes it hard for people to realize it at the dealership.   

Inspired by the New York Times’ article “You Draw It: How Family Income Predicts Children’s College Chances,” we wanted to engage people to estimate the consequences of fuel economy. We ask the player to make a concrete predictions about the impact of their preferred car coupled with their lifestyle choices. The primary audience is young car buyers, likely purchasing their first new car. We envision this interactive game embedded into,, or (and their mobile app versions) to best capture our tech-inclined target audience.

Many CO2 infographics come across as scolding people for their environmentally unfriendly choices, but we wanted to take a different approach. Our aim is to coach players to develop a precise intuition about the consequences of their transportation choices. Then people can make a conscious choice with complete information. The interactive game structure where players make guesses and the game responds with feedback makes for excellent training to understand their own impact. We designed the prediction prompts to involve minimal math and hope the users will enjoy the estimation challenge. We are calling car buyers to choose consciously about the real costs related to the models people choose.