America can save up to 1.29 million barrels per day of oil consumption or 16 percent of oil imports within two years by a series of conservation measures. These measures are inexpensive and easily accomplished. While each saves only a small amount, together they save a considerable amount of energy. The proposed nine-step program utilizes a "micro" approach to conservation - specific measures and implementation to conserve in specific applications.
1. Hot water flow restrictors. Each year the average American home uses the energy equivalent of more than four barrels of oil just to heat water. Nonresidential users add to this. Shower heads and faucets provide an unnecessarily high rate of flow, which can be cut by over 50 percent by installation of 14-cent flow restrictors. The federal government could subsidize the installation of these devices by water companies. Water companies would be required to install these devices in all homes and buildings within a two-year period. Because hot water is not needed for proper hand washing, nonresidential buildings could be required to eliminate hot water from taps in wash basins.
2. "Super" oils. Industry has developed inexpensive additives, such as graphite, which make conventional motor and differential oils perform more efficiently. Oil companies should be required to add friction modifiers to all oils within the next two years.
3. Tune-ups and alignment. Dirty air cleaners can be visually diagnosed and readily replaced. Chronic improper toe-in, the angle of the front wheels, of motor vehicles can be diagnosed in many cases from inspection of the front tires. States should institute annual visual inspection of these two energy wasters as part of a broader inspection program.
4. Increased tire pressure. About 30 percent of all tires are underinflated. Minimum inflation standards are not designed to optimize gas mileage. In many cases, tire pressures can be in increased from 4 to 8 pounds per square inch without any significant safety hazard. The Department of Transportation should immediately raise inflation standards on existing tires and widely disseminate the new standards to service stations and auto-repair shops. These concerns should be required to raise inflation pressures to the new standards when any servicing - including adding oil - is performed.
5. Increased energy tax credit. The energy tax credit should be increased to 25 percent and should include the purchase of radial tires. All tires should receive a Department of Transportation energy efficiency rating similar to the EPA mileage rating. These two efforts, combined with public information, should increase the percentage of radial tires from under 50 percent to 75 percent of the replacement tire market.
6. Improved public and private energy-use practices. Recently I called 50 homes at random in the Washington area. The results were consistent with those provided by my consulting work with homeowners. It appears that a substantial proportion of the public, perhaps 25 percent, is motivated to save energy but doesn't know how. America has techniques to use television and print media to sell candidates, soap and corn flakes. Why not use a high-powered public-information campaign to provide needed conservation information to already-motivated citizens? The recent oil-company ads are good examples of this approach, but they lack credibility.
7. Government test standards. While the EPA mileage test procedures provide a sound basis for comparative assessment of automobile efficiency, such standards are lacking in other areas. How can a consumer know whether "super" oil works at all or which is best when mileage-improvement claims vary from 1 percent to 4.8 percent, depending on the test conditions? Government standard test procedures should be applied to a wide variety of potential energy savers to afford consumers a basis for choice.
8.Increased research. Although the government and industry have large research programs aimed at energy conservation, many areas - such as more efficient automobile and electric motors - are not adequately covered. Areas of waste need to be identified and research aimed at practical measures, performed at an accelerated rate.
9. Financing of conservation. Although many effective home energy saving measures, such as added insulation, are available, the long pay-back period for saving money discourages use. Utility companies should be required to provide financing of conservation measures and solar supplements included in the monthly utility bill. The bill, including financing, often would be lower, because of reduced fuel use. Government incentives or subsidies may also be useful in this program.