The Energy Mess

In the new plan the White House is about to unveil, Bush offers half a loaf: a boost for domestic oil drilling, short shrift for conservation

Some lessons are hard to learn. Three times in the past two decades, the U.S. has been burned by its unbridled appetite for energy and its dependence on foreign oil. First came the OPEC embargo in response to the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. Iran administered the second oil shock six years later. Both episodes produced some national hand-wringing and a spate of conservation measures that cut imports in half between 1977, their peak year, and 1985. But when world oil prices collapsed in 1986, the nation's per capita oil consumption began to climb again, the fuel efficiency of American cars slid...

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