The Department of Energy Should Provide Leadership To Assure Near-Term Gasoline Conservation Opportunities Are Realized

EMD-81-52: Published: Apr 13, 1981. Publicly Released: Apr 13, 1981.

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Gasoline conservation can play an important role in the next few years in helping reduce the Nation's dependence on foreign oil. Even though gasoline consumption has decreased over the past 2 years, additional gasoline savings are possible by accelerating improvements in vehicle fleet fuel efficiency, applying fuel-efficient driving practices, and reducing the number of vehicle miles driven. GAO examined the Department of Energy's (DOE) programs that promote gasoline savings by educating drivers about these conservation opportunities.

DOE programs designed to encourage near-term gasoline conservation savings lack overall direction and focus and, while they may individually address appropriate conservation opportunities, together they are not part of any overall strategy. This lack of direction and focus is evidenced by: (1) the DOE programs not supporting the goals DOE has set for near-term gasoline conservation savings; (2) inconsistency between the DOE statements regarding the importance of such savings and the low priority DOE has assigned to the area; and (3) the failure of DOE to perform adequate program evaluations.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status:

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should systematically assess DOE's role in facilitating and supplementing private sector near-term gasoline conservation efforts. The results of the assessment should then be used to create a strategy to guide program development, implementation, and evaluation. In developing the strategy, the Secretary should consider programs and activities carried out by all DOE components having responsibility for near-term gasoline conservation. The strategy should also consider and build upon near-term gasoline conservation efforts of the private sector and other Federal agencies, most notably the Department of Transportation.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy


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