are used by passengers. However, during the Carter Administration, the conclusion that rail transportation is more energy efficient was accepted as fact. It was supported by a number of careful studies, and it was the conclusion of the Transportation Energy Conservation Data Book (Kulp, Shonka, Collins, Murphy, and Reed, 1980), published with the support of that administration. Nevertheless, when the Reagan Administration presented its first budget proposals for Amtrak, Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis referred to the energy efficiency of passenger trains as a “myth.” (New York Times, March 11, 1981).


6. However, this reaction will not be universal. For low-income households and poorly supported public services, even a slow increase in energy prices will be experienced as a forced choice between sacrificing the services energy offers and sacrificing other essentials. The less painful options of cutting back excess or wasteful use and investing in energy efficiency are not available. This situation is already evident in the rapid rise in the last few years in the proportion of income that low-income households spend on energy (Energy Information Administration, 1982).


7. Unlike energy-efficient appliances, however, energy-efficient automobiles tend to cost less to produce because energy efficiency is gained primarily by decreasing the weight of the automobile, and, therefore, the cost of materials. Producers of such automobiles tend to gain a market advantage through lower price.


8. The notion of limited ability to respond to shortages rests on two assumptions: first, that curtailment is the most effective quick response in an emergency; and second, that there are limits to curtailment—such as the human physiological response to cold.

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