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You didn't use less energy after all

It seemed almost too good to be true, as the dubious old phrase goes, and now we find out that it was. Just a month ago we welcomed the news that Americans last year had actually cut their total energy use, the first time this had happened in a nonrecession year for a quarter of a century. Alas, the Department of Energy figures that we seized upon have been revised. These later figures show not a tiny decline in use betwen 1978 and 1979 but we tiny rise in use.

The news is still not all that bad. Usage at least appears to be on a plateau rather than an escalator. The first figures put 1978 usage at 78.15 quads (quadrillions of Btus) and 1979 usage at 78.02 quads. The revised figures put 1978 at 78.154 and 1979 slightly higher, 78.197.

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So, pull up your socks, America. It's too soon to rest on you oars. You still need to grasp the nettle. There is a lot of energy efficiency you haven't cashed in on yet. And, not to waste more cliches, you can prove by reducing this year's energy usage that the next round of figures will be too good not to be true.

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