Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Ingredients for Energy Crisis Abound in American Economy

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Ingredients for Energy Crisis Abound in American Economy

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - Americans have had their fill of crises, real or imagined, and can hardly tolerate another. It probably explains why the energy problem has fallen into the background.

But there is uncomfortable news in the background, and it might be summarized in three sentences:

- American production of crude oil is falling.

- Consumption is rising.

- Imports account for half of U.S. supplies.

These ingredients mean an inevitable crisis, the only unknown being its timing and extent. The timing could be sometime in the next century; it also could be as imminent as the next time warfare threatens in the Middle East.

The U.S. economy runs on energy. That is, the nation's factories, homes and means of transportation depend on it. As history has demonstrated, a shortage can stall an automobile or an economy with equal effectiveness.

Recognizing this, America went on an energy-saving crusade beginning in the 1970s. Old homes and factories were insulated and standards for new ones were raised. Alternative energy supplies were encouraged and businesses for that purpose were founded.

Much of that seems like a memory now, akin to the lingering thoughts some people have of blackouts and ration cards during World War II. That deprivation ended suddenly; people resumed their lives and said ``never again.''

But the energy war never was won. Its ingredients remain and they're just as explosive as ever: a country totally dependent on a stable supply but with no assurance of it; a country increasing energy usage but not its production.

Domestic crude oil production in June fell to 7.1 million barrels a day, the lowest on record. …

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