National Geographic : 1975 Nov
Oil shortage. Energy crisis. Chill ing realities? Half truths? Or myths? Which? There are argu ments to support any view. The crisis is out of the headlines. The wait-lines are gone from the gas stations. We can run boats. Snowmobiles. Fly planes. Travel. True, our bills are up. But there were no "brown-outs" last sum mer. There's electricity to wash, dry, sew, mow, heat, cool, light, type, iron, compact trash, lift ga rage doors, cook, warm blankets. But many people view this appar ent abundance as a mirage. A tragically false hope. They fear the world's oil and gas may be gone in our children's time. Priced way beyond today's levels long be fore. Even our nuclear fuels, they fear, might not last until the end of the century. Nobody doubts oil and gas sup plies are finite. Even at curtailed consumption rates they will be gone one day, as fuels, chemicals, lubricants. But there are three things we can do. First, we can slow our energy use through con servation. An estimated 30% of all energy used in the U.S. today is wasted. And we can turn to coal. Coal can buy time to research other energy sources. It is abundant. Quickly available. We are advancing tech nology to mine and convert it at acceptable environmental costs. Coal to electricity, to oil, to gas. Coal to petrochemical substitutes. Finally, we must speed up nuclear development: the breeder-reactor and fusion developments that would assure centuries of clean energy. Caterpillar makes machines used to mine coal and atomic fuels, to reclaim lands and to prepare pow er plant sites. We also are vitally interested in helping to solve America's energy problems. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. CaterpillarCatand0 areTrademarksof CaterpillarTractorCo..