From this review of oil heating since 1960, we conclude that, after a dramatic increase up to 1972, oil is on the way out of the residential market in the developed countries. The conditions for each country studied often differed significantly in 1973, yet the oil retreat is continuing everywhere. In all, consumers saved a great deal of oil. Total oil use in the seven OECD countries fell by 47 percent from its 1972/73 value. Of the oil used in these seven countries in 1972, 33 percent about 2000 PJ, was being saved per annum by 1982.
What did consumers do? Most savings arose through behavioral change, retrofit, and use of supplementary fuels, in that order. Additional savings took place because of conversions to other fuels. Most of the savings were caused directly by consumers, and higher oil prices appear to be the principal reason. The impact of government programs, however, cannot be overlooked. Most importantly, the savings appear to be continuing in the mid 1980s, principally because the number of homes heated with oil continues to decrease. However, we believe that policies to reinforce or accelerate oil savings would be advisable, so that consumers will be better able to withstand the next oil shock.
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