Abstract

Growing demand for all forms of energy in the U.S. and abroad will put additional pressures upon the conventional sources of domestic pressures upon the conventional sources of domestic hydrocarbon fuels and stimulate the development of the so-called nonconventional sources - shale oil, tar sands, and gas from oil and coal. Nuclear power will continue its establishment as a major new energy source, helped by possible breakthroughs in the development of breeder reactors and atomic fusion. Competition among customers will focus upon qualities and volumes of energy, rather than upon prices or types of fuel that have been traditional in the U.S.

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The fact that the total demand for energy continues to grow no longer comes as a surprise. In this respect, it follows the same trend as most raw materials, although lagging behind that of many types of services and sophisticated manufactures. The surprise arises from the speed at which this growth has been proceeding throughout the world, and the upturn that has taken place in the U.S.

In the non-Communist world as a whole, energy demand has been growing at more than 5 percent annually, and is likely to continue to percent annually, and is likely to continue to do so throughout the rest of this decade. If peace can be re-established and more resources devoted to industrial and agricultural development, this pace will speed up still further, with profound implications for countries which have become accustomed to living on large imports of low-cost energy.

In the case of the U.S., energy growth during the early 60ies, at less than 4 percent annually, showed the signs both of a mature economy and of a market approaching saturation. In more recent years, growth has accelerated to 5 percent annually, and there is ground for belief that a sustained higher growth rate must henceforth be expected.

The main reasons for this belief are that energy use is becoming a more important ingredient in consumer satisfaction, while methods of consumption are becoming less efficient. The spread of air conditioning (now used in about one-quarter of the nation's homes), the need for transportation within even vaster metropolitan regions (three of which may contain half the nation's population before the end of the century), and the continuous expansion of the market for energy-based conveniences (ranging from electric heating to all-terrain-vehicles) are cited as evidence of the former trend.

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