Energy, Economics, and Foreign Policy in the Soviet Union

By Ed A. Hewett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
Soviet Energy Consumption in World Perspective

SINCE 1972 the real price of energy has doubled in the OECD countries. This reflects a fivefold increase in real oil prices, whose effects were mitigated considerably by domestic policies in the OECD countries, their tax systems, and changes in fuel mixes.1 These price increases occasioned balance-of-payments deficits in OECD countries that, combined with a very slow policy response by OECD governments, contributed to recessions in 1974-75, after the first major increase in OPEC prices, and in 1980-81, after the second significant price rise. The recessions helped to suppress energy consumption below what it would otherwise have been, but they also brought about a change in the relationship between energy use and economic activity throughout the OECD that is still going on. In the European Community, for example, GNP rose 16 percent between 1974 and 1981, while energy consumption fell 3 percent. In the United States energy consumption in 1980 was 4 percent below that of 1973, and GNP was 18 percent higher.2

____________________
1
International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook ( Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 1982), p. 63. The most important reasons for the substantial differences between oil-price rises and energy-price rises are that (a) electricity rates in the OECD rose much more slowly than oil-price increases because of a switching away from hydrocarbons and the relatively low cost of nuclear and hydro plants; (b) lump-sum taxes on gasoline in Europe meant that the increase in oil prices affected only a portion of the final price charged to the consumer; and (c) lags occurred in the crude-oil-product price link and in the link between crude-oil prices and those of other primary energy carriers. See ibid., chap. 3, for a discussion of these points.
2
The GNP figures are from CIA, Handbook of Economic Statistics, 1978, ER 78- 10365 ( CIA, 1978), and Handbook, 1981, HF HES 81-001 ( CIA, 1981); the energy-

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Energy, Economics, and Foreign Policy in the Soviet Union
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents ix
  • Tables x
  • ABBREVIATIONS OF FREQUENTLY CITED PERIODICALS xii
  • Chapter One - Overview 1
  • Chapter Two - Soviet Energy Supplies 24
  • Chapter Three - Soviet Energy Consumption in World Perspective 100
  • Chapter Four - the Energy Balance 144
  • Chapter Five - Energy and Foreign Policy 193
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