themselves . . . but only with the outlay of additional capital. That’s one rub, in energy conservation, right there. Before you decide on additional insulation, or having your new home built with a heat pump and doublepane windows, or with a solar water-heater on the garage roof, you need to be able to accurately forecast the future price of energy. Otherwise, you may find yourself making a foolish economic decision. So, we’re right back to the need for something none of the experts will even claim to be able to deliver: an accurate forecast of the price of oil… and gas … coal… and uranium. Remember last year when it looked like gasoline would be 900 by Thanksgiving? Right now, it’s ztlsz for regular in Bryan, and 45V at the Sigmor Shamrock on Bandera Road in San Antonio. What will it be this time next year? Ten years from now? The people who will tell you don’t know. The people who think they know aren’t going to tell youthey’re going to invest their money in. the right place and make a fortune. The experts can’t tell you whether there will be enough energy. They can tell you how much could be conserved. Dr. Davidson noted that energy uses in the industrial sector of our economy process steam, direct heat, electric driveare all about as efficient as they can be, thanks to the long prior existence of a direct and unequivocal incentive: produce goods cheaper and get rewarded. The steel industry, for example, with the right combination of basic oxygen process and electric furnaces could, on a longrange basis, go from 21 percent to perhaps 31 percent energy efficiency. But it would take 25 years of intense capital investment in new steel-making equipment. Would such a program pay off? Another place where U.S. industry really has room for large savings is recycling raw materials. Making steel from scratch requires three times as much energy as to re-process scrap. Aluminum from scratch, 22 times as much. We probably need worry less about this form of energy saving than any other; the old economic incentive will make it automatic once the price goes up. The third sector of the economy Dr. Davidson considered was transportation. Here we run smack into another basic rub of energy conservation: it’s a great thing . .. for the other guy. I want you to conserve energy. So I won’t have to. Here, too, we meet with an important concept: the load factor. In considering transportation, we find the greatest potential savings are possible when the job to be done is matched most closely to the mode of transportation, that is, when the load factor is high. As all newspaper-readers now know, the passenger-miles per gallon are greater in a car pool than when everybody drives his own car to work. They are still greater on the busprovided the bus is full. As Dr. Davidson said: “I was going to really practice conservation, so I rode the Trailways to Houston. There were only four persons in it.” As for the private car, considered strictly as a vehicle, the conclusion is for once simple and unequivocal: the gas a car burns is directly proportional to its weight. Or, if all the cars in the U.S. weighed precisely half what they now do, the nation would save 8 percent of its energy right off the bat. But, to completely replace our auto fleet takes an estimated ten years of capital investment. Capital investment equals energy consumed. Alas, there is no free lunch. That very fact, if Americans as a result of the energy crisis really and truly absorb it, might have bigger consequences for our future than any other aspect of the crisis. After all, America’s development and character to date rest as much as anything upon our belief that there is free lunch. The whole continent 200 years ago was free lunch. What do we read in the papers? Why, that Detroit notes the sales of its small cars are falling below expectations, while sales of compact and larger cars are exceeding originally planned production. The recession is fading. Conservation is a great thing for the other guy. Thus, probably, Bolger of Commonwealth Edison and McKinney, vice president of Pacific Lighting Corp. of Southern California, who also spoke at the San Antonio Energy Symposium, are right. The safest assumption is that the U.S. will go right on trying to live like it always has, for a while longer. THE PRICE OF NUCLEAR POWER “In 1800,” pronounced Dr. Teller, speaking very slowly in the original Strangelove accent, “zee U.S. per capita energy conzumption waz almort as high as zhat of Western Europe now, zhough based zolely upon wood and living horzepower.” Per capita energy consumption is an excellent index of general prosperity; Americans have an average of 80 “energy slave-equivalents” attending them. But, he lamented, “Among young people, technology and progrers haz become a zirty word.” That may be, but Mr. Bolger, the THE TEXAS OBSERVER The Texas Observer Publishing Co., 1976 Ronnie Dugger, Publisher A window to the South A journal of free voices Vol. LXVIII, No. 7 April 9, 1976 hicorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin ForumAdvocate. Editorial and Business Offices: The Texas Observer, 600 W. 7th St., Austin, Texas 78701. Telephone 477-0746. AzgrXa .7.7 EDITOR Kaye Northcott CO-EDITOR Molly Ivins EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger Contributing Editors: Steve Barthelme, Bill Brammer, Gary Cartwright, Joe Frantz, Larry Goodwyn, Bill Hamilton, Bill Helmer, Dave Hickey, Franklin Jones, Lyman Jones, Larry L. King, Georgia Earnest Klipple, Larry Lee, Al Melinger, Robert L. Montgomery, Willie Morris, Bill Porterfield, James Presley, Buck Ramsey, John Rogers, Mary Beth Rogers, Roger Shattuck, Edwin Shrake, Dan Strawn, John P. 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