Saving water turned out to be no fun. It's a treat not to be able to wash the car, but who are you going to spend that saved time with, in a population growing increasingly pungent?

Going without electricity has very little to be said for it. Candlelight dinners are charming until you dump the remains down the garbage disposal and realize you're going to have to fish it all out again.

So the latest energy crisis comes as a pilot light in the dark. The gas company is asking us to use more gas.

The reason is that there is a gas shortage. Therefore, the gas company can't take on more customers. Therefore less gas is being used. Therefore the gas company is losing money. Therefore it is the patriotic duty of the current customers to use more gas, pay more money and help get things back to a normal shortage crisis.

The company proposes that these people buy new gas run appliances. Here, however, they are not helping us as much as they should. For the sake of the whole country, we would all rush out and buy gas food pulverizers or lapel sized computers, but there aren't any.

The only suggestion the company makes is that we run out and buy gas air conditioning. We would, but it's too hot.

What might be easier, and just as successful, is a public spirited effort to teach people to waste gas. This does not involve investing in a lot of stuff we could be stuck with in the event of the conventional shortage - one that requires us to use less gas rather than more - and should hike our bills.

If you are a gas user, you can heat your house as well as air condition it, arriving at a temperature similiar to that enjoyed by electricity users during blackouts. Cook your food slowly, and forget to turn off the oven during dinner. Report leaks late.

It's the least you can do for the cause.