The Federal Government Should Establish and Meet Energy Conservation Goals

EMD-78-38: Published: Jun 30, 1978. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 1978.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Between 1972 and 1976, the rate of energy consumption in the nation decreased because of supply disruptions, a recession, and increased prices. Energy conservation has not been sustained, however, and energy consumption currently is increasing. The Administration proposed a national energy plan (NEP) which stresses conservation.

The success of energy conservation measures will depend on the development of consumer attitudes and habits which foster efficient energy use. Federal programs to change energy consumption patterns involve three basic approaches: (1) voluntary; (2) indirect market intervention; and (3) direct market intervention. Federal programs have had some success in reducing energy consumption in transportation and in the residential sector. NEP includes initiatives which could make investments in industrial energy conservation more financially attractive, result in greater realization of energy conservation opportunities in the residential sector, and meet needs in the commercial sector for financial incentives to energy conservation investments. Additional federal actions are needed in all sectors to meet NEP goals and objectives.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should equalize the federal share of costs for mass transit projects and include heat pumps as measures eligible for residential tax credit.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Department of Energy should continuously assess each federal initiative for its contribution in meeting NEP objectives and develop standby initiatives. The Secretary of Energy should, by January 1, 1979, submit to Congress an energy conservation plan which includes: (1) energy conservation goals by sector; (2) executive branch actions which constitute a program to achieve the goals; (3) milestones and a plan to monitor and evaluate each portion of the program's contribution toward meeting goals; and (4) proposals to try other methods if the program is not meeting milestones. He should submit recommendations to Congress regarding additional financial actions that can be taken to encourage the use of mass transit. The Secretary should also monitor automobile fuel costs per mile and submit proposals to increase gasoline prices when costs decrease, monitor residential energy consumption and fuel prices and propose standby authority to increase fuel prices, and implement a revised program to replace the existing industrial energy conservation improvement targets program.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Apr 18, 2018

Apr 5, 2018

Mar 20, 2018

Mar 14, 2018

Feb 28, 2018

Feb 16, 2018

Feb 6, 2018

Jan 30, 2018

Dec 7, 2017

Nov 14, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here