Farewell Fossil Fuels: Reviewing America's Energy Policy

By Sidney Borowitz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 16
CONSERVATION

After OPEC tripled oil prices in 1973, consumers worldwide reduced their oil consumption. While the increase in the Gross Domestic Product in the United States since then has been close to 40 percent, the energy usage has risen only a small fraction. Much of the decrease of the use of energy has been due to conservation. A smaller part has been due to the United States economy becoming more of a service economy, rather than a manufacturing one.

While conservation was initially driven by purely economic considerations the United States Congress has intervened politically by passing legislation that provides efficiency standards for automobiles and appliances. States, California being the first, have set energy standards for new building construction that are part of the building codes. Legislative action seemed to be called for because in recent years energy use in general and the use of oil in particular has started to increase again. Thus the federal and state governments have now legislated energy conservation as a public policy. This recognition of the importance of conservation has been a partial step toward redressing a past misallocation of resources on the part of the entire society and the government. Traditionally, ten times as much money has been spent on research for increasing the energy supply than has been spent on conservation research. Yet a barrel of oil saved is equivalent to a barrel of oil taken from the ground, and is frequently less costly to come by.

The object of conservation is to have the world's principal stores

-197-

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Farewell Fossil Fuels: Reviewing America's Energy Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface 7
  • Introduction 9
  • Chapter 1 the Earth Emerges 15
  • Chapter 2 Energy 27
  • Chapter 3 Fossil Fuels 41
  • Chapter 4 Oil 53
  • Chapter 5 Coal 63
  • Chapter 6 Natural Gas 73
  • Chapter 7 Nuclear Energy (fission) 79
  • Chapter 8 Nuclear Energy (fusion) 97
  • Chapter 9 Direct Utilization of Solar Energy 109
  • Chapter 10 Photovoltaics 121
  • Chapter 11 Biomass 135
  • Chapter 12 Energy from Wind and Water 145
  • Chapter 13 Nonsolar Energy Sources: Geothermal and Tides 159
  • Chapter 14 Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (otec) 173
  • Chapter 15 Batteries, Fuel Cells, and Flywheels 183
  • Chapter 16 Conservation 197
  • Chapter 17 a Hydrogen Economy 207
  • Chapter 18 Envoi 211
  • Index 215
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