RationaleLong-term economic growth will enable the nation to achieve important social, environ-nental, and economic objectives.
Context: Economic Growth
Historical DataAnnual growth in real GDP ranged from -2.2 percent to 6.2 percent during the years 1986-1994. Over the 14-year period the average annual growth rate was 2.5 percent. Since World War 11 average annual growth rates were highest during the decade of the 1960s (3.8 percent) and lowest over the first four years of the 1990s (1.5 percent).12
RationaleThe energy intensity of the economy (energy consumed per dollar GDP) is a fundamental measure of sustainability that combines both technological efficiency (energy consumed per unit of goods and services provided) and the weighted mix of energy-using activities that make up the national economy.
Context: Energy Efficiency
The energy intensity of the economy (energy consumed per dollar of GDP) is a fundamental measure of sustainability that combines both technological efficiency (energy consumed per unit of service provided) and the mix of energy-using activities that make up the national economy. Both of these components tend to reduce energy intensity as the economy evolves.
Historical DataPrimary energy use per dollar of real GDP fell by 19 percent from 1980 to 1993; and by two percent between 1990 and 1993.17 Over the period from 1980-1993, energy use rose 18 percent in the residential and commercial sector; one percent in the industrial sector; 16 percent in the transportation sector, and 11 percent overall. Real GDP rose 36 percent.18
ForecastFor 1990 to 2000, the Annual Energy Outlook 1995 forecasts a 5.6-8.1 percent decline in primary energy use per dollar of real GDP (see table 2). Energy use is predicted to rise 12-16 percent in the residential and commercial sector; 17-22 percent in the industrial sector; 13-17 percent in the transportation sector, and 14-19 percent overall. Real GDP rises 21-29 percent. For 1990 to 2010, the Annual Energy Outlook 1995 forecasts a 13.9-18.6 percent decline in primary energy use per dollar of real GDP Energy use is predicted to rise 17-27 percent in the residential and commercial sector; 27-40 percent in the industrial sector; 23-33 percent in the transportation sector and 22-33 percent overall. Real GDP rises 42-64 percent. For 1990 to 2010, Alternative Energy Future forecasts an economy- wide decline of 30 percent in primary energy use per dollar of real GNP; a 25 percent decline in energy use per household in the residential sector; an 11 percent decline in energy use in the commercial sector per dollar of real GNP (total); and a 25 percent decline in energy use per dollar of industrial output, assuming adoption of their policy recommendations.
Source: Annual Energy Outlook 1995, p. 100, table B2, and p. 122, table B 19 (For 2000 and 20 1 0 forecasts); U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Review 1993 (Washington, D.C., 1994), p. 17, table 1.7 (for 1990 data).
Although the Task Force's energy intensity indicator level exceeds long-term historical rates by a significant amount, it is not without precedent: the energy intensity of the economy fell by 2.0 percent per year between 1974 and 1986, a time of rising real energy prices and new regulation aimed at increasing energy efficiency.19 These indicator values are technically feasible and could be economically beneficial if energy and transportation policies, including research and development, are structured properly.
The 10 percent improvement from 1990 levels, for example, is at the high end of base-case energy forecasts, which range from about 5.6-8.1 percent, depending on assumed rates of economic growth and short-term changes in energy markets. (See table 2.)
The 30 percent improvement by 2010 is nearly identical to the Energy Policy Act directive (30 percent improvement over 1988 levels) that guides the development of the Department of Energy's Least Cost Energy Strategy study.20 It is significantly higher than baseline forecasts, which tend to be in the 15-20 percent range. The base case forecast for America's Energy Choices yielded a 24 percent improvement.21 Few energy forecasts extend to 2025. The 1991 National Energy Strategy projected that the economy would be 32-41 percent more energy efficient in 2030 than in 1990, making the 2025 level of 50 percent improvement in the energy/GDP ratio appear to be a significant stretch but probably feasible.22
In addition to energy market forecasts, "bottom-up" technology analysis conducted in the last decade shows that more widespread adoption of existing energy efficiency technology could reduce energy demand by 25-45 percent--implying that a 50 percent aggregate reduction in the economy would be possible through diffusion of improved technology and the shifting composition of economic output to less energy-intensive products and services.23
Assuming a 2.5 percent average annual growth rate in the economy between 1990 and 2025, over-all primary energy use would be slightly higher than current levels by 2030 even if the efficiency indicator level is achieved. If other measures of progress are reached--for example in renewable energy and fossil generation efficiency--and if environmental technologies continue to reduce many of the pollutants associated with conventional energy supplies, then the overall environmental impact of this level of consumption could be significantly less than today's. Assuming that technologies improve and that rational policies are used to achieve the target, the economics could be distinctly favorable on a nationwide basis.
Context: Renewable Energy
Renewable energy sources typically have fewer environmental impacts than do fossil fuels and have significant domestic and international market potential. Costs have declined significantly for renewable energy technologies over the past 15 years. Continued cost reductions at historical rates will encourage significant market penetration, and expanded markets will encourage further cost reductions. These trends will enhance the affordability of increasing the renewable energy share. However, barriers besides costs exist and these may need to be addressed in order to attain the indicator level. Because the share of hydropower is expected to remain constant, it is not included in the indicator values.24
Historical DataRenewable energy consumption, including hydroelectric power, was 7.4% of total U.S. energy consumption in 1990. Hydroelectric power accounted for 3.7% of total US. primary energy consumption in 1990.25
ForecastsThe Annual Energy Outlook 1995 forecasts renewable energy consumption, including hydroelectric power, will be 8.3 -8.8 percent of total U S. primary energy consumption by 20 1 0. Hydroelectric power will account for 3.0 percent (high and low estimates the same) of total US. primary energy consumption by 2010. Of the remaining 5.2-5.7 percent of total US. primary energy consumption coming from renewable energy, 1.6-2.0 percent will be used by electricity generating utilities and non-utilities, 1.0 percent (high and low estimates the same) will be used by cogenerators, and 2.8-2.9 percent will be used for non-electric renewable energy consumption. Biomass and other wastes equal approximately one percent of total US. primary energy consumption in both high and low estimates.16 Data Resources Incorporated forecasts that 3 5 'gigawatts of 1993 generating plant capacity will be retired by 2010 and 110 gigawatts by 2015.27
The Annual Energy Outlook 1995 baseline projections suggest that the Task Force's target of 12 percent in 2010 and 25 percent in 2025 would require concerted policy efforts if they are to be achieved cost-effectively. Interaction with the energy efficiency targets could work either way: reduced energy consumption would increase the percentage contribution of any given level of renewable energy, but slow growth in electric generating capacity could also blunt the market for renewable generating technologies.
Context: Efficient Electricity Generation
Improvements in fossil energy technologies, including transmission and distribution, will improve the efficiency of electricity supply and reduce its environmental impact. Current average efficiency m providing electricity (end-use electricity consumed divided by energy input, including transmission and distribution losses) is 32 percent, which is assumed to remain constant through 201 0 under current projections.28
Historical DataAverage generating efficiency of utilities (BTUs per kilowatt hour generated divided by 3412) was 32 percent in 1980, 32.5 percent in 1990, and 33 percent in 1993.29 Transmission and distribution losses for utilities currently equal around 10 percent of generated kilowatt hours of electricity.30
ForecastsThe Annual Energy Outlook 1995 forecasts an average generating efficiency for utilities and non-utilities by 2010 of 33.1-33.3 percent. 31 The Annual Energy Outlook 1995 forecasts 113-176 gigawatts in gross additions to the electricity generating capability of utilities, nonutilities, and cogenerators between 1990 and 2010. It also forecasts retirement of 60 gigawatts of generating capability from 1990 to 2010 (high and low forecasts the same, all retirements occur in utilities). Total generating capability of utilities, nonutilities, and cogenerators by 2010 is forecast to be 800-863 gigawatts.32
New electricity generation technology is already capable of yielding much higher efficiencies than the current system average. For example, thermal efficiencies in some new natural gas-direct combined-cycle units are over 50 percent (not including transmission and distribution losses). (See table 3.)
Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Fossil Energy Office, Memorandum from FE-4 to PO-62, 27 February 1995.
The U.S. Department of Energy research and development goals for coal-based technology are 55 percent thermal efficiency by 2010 while keeping costs at or below current levels. This is based on gasification/fuel cell technology. Higher overall efficiencies would be possible with maximum waste-heat recovery in some applications--perhaps as high as 65 percent by 2025.
However, capital stock turnover is slow in the electricity generation sector, and increased energy efficiency will further reduce new capacity needs. The Task Force targets in this indicator assume a substantial increase in both the efficiency of new units and a sharp acceleration of projected replacement investment. Therefore, the levels of this indicator are a significant stretch. For example, the 2010 target could be met if roughly 40 percent of capacity averaged about 55 percent efficiency while 60 percent of capacity maintained the current average of 32 percent. But current projections indicate that, without policy changes, almost all of existing capacity will remain in operation in 2010 and that capacity installed between 1990 and 20 1 0 will not significantly increase the current average system efficiency. The year 2025 target could be met if three quarters of the capacity operated at 55 percent efficiency, assuming that the remainder operated at the current system average of 32 percent. Again, projections of utility stock turnover raise significant questions about the feasibility of this indicator level without a significant policy effort.
RationaleTransportation systems spur economic and social development by linking producers with suppliers and markets and by connecting people to employment opportunities, goods, services and recreation.
Context: National and Economic Security
Because of reduced domestic exploration, dwindling reserves, falling production, and the relatively high cost of U.S. production, oil imports have grown from 37 percent of domestic consumption in 1987 to 44 percent in 1994. Motor vehicles account for approximately two-thirds of all domestic oil consumption and are therefore the major force behind this rising demand.38 In the short-term, imports on balance help the economy through lower prices for fuels, reduced inflation, a rise in real disposable income, and overall economic growth. However, the immediate benefits of imported petroleum come with longer term economic and national security costs as well.
According to the Department of Commerce, substantial reliance on petroleum imports threatens to impair national security. Although U.S. energy security has improved in recent years with the breakup of the Soviet Union and the apparent disarray within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), political and economic problems in the Persian Gulf region make supply disruptions a possibility. Persian Gulf oil has risen to 21 percent of domestic imports and the United States and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries have limited options to offset another major oil supply disruption because: (1) there is little surplus production outside the Persian Gulf, (2) U.S. and OECD government oil stocks provide less protection from an interruption than in the past; and, (3) alternative fuels and electric vehicles would not be able to meet the sudden increase in demand.39 During a major oil supply disruption, there could be substantial hardships for the U.S. economy--caused by inflation, unemployment, and income and productivity losses. Since the post-World War II period, significant supply disruptions have occurred 11 times, three times with major economic implications--the 1973 Arab oil embargo, the Iranian Revolution (1978-80), and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.40 To protect the Middle East and access to oil, the U.S. maintains a significant and costly military presence in the Persian Gulf.
Economic and national security risks can be expected to increase as U.S. oil imports continue to grow because of declining domestic production and increased economic growth. The Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy (EIA/DOE) projects that net imports will increase to 51.5 percent of domestic consumption by 2000 and that the United States and its allies will become increasingly dependent on Persian Gulf oil, which will account for 55 percent of world exports by 2000.43
Historical DataNet oil imports as a share of U.S. petroleum products have been rising since 1985. The 1994 level of 45 percent is near the historic high of 46.5 percent in 1977.42 Gross imports of crude oil surpassed domestic production during several months of 1994.43 Since 1980, the value of oil imports has fallen both as a share of the total value of imports and as a share of GDP, reaching eight percent of all imports and less than one percent of GDP in 1994.44
ForecastsAs a result of both increasing demand and declining domestic production, net oil imports are forecast by Annual Energy Outlook 1995 to reach 58-59 percent of oil supplied in 2010.45 Because the world oil price (in 1993 dollars) is expected to rise in the EIA/DOE Reference Case about 50 percent from 1993 to 2010 and a greater share of imports is expected to be finished products, the value of oil imports as a share of GDP is expected to increase from 0.7 percent in 1994 to 1.6 percent in 2010.46
Source: U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, Supplement to the Annual Energy Outlook 1995 (Washington, D.C., 1995), tables 1, 32, 47, 52 and 53; Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 13 (Washington, D.C., 1993), tables 2.12 and 2.14.
Context: Efficient Transportation
Emissions of greenhouse gases are an important concern and transportation emissions are growing significantly. A wide range of policies can contribute to attaining the Task Force's indicator levels, including increasing the energy efficiency of vehicles, encouraging use of alternative modes of transportation, increasing vehicle occupancy or load factors, or making use of alternative technologies and fuels. Where alternative fuels could contribute to attaining the indicator levels, full fuel cycle impacts of alternative technologies or fuels should be taken into account to accurately measure their potential contributions to the target. Economic and equity considerations should emphasize policies that enhance the affordability of and access to transportation services.
Historical DataDue to the combined effects of deregulation and increased speed limits, carbon emissions from freight trucks rose from 12 lbs per 100 ton miles in 1980 to 15 lbs per 100 ton miles in 1990. However, recent evidence suggests emissions per ton mile will decline as excess capacity in the industry is reduced. Carbon emissions from domestic shipping (water) and rail freight were the same in 1980 as in 1990 (two lbs and three lbs per 100 ton miles respectively.) (See table 4.)
ForecastsThe Annual Energy Outlook 1995 Supplement Reference Case forecasts by the year 2000, carbon emissions from light duty vehicles will be 15 lbs per 100 passenger miles. Carbon emissions from trucks will be 12 lbs per 100 ton miles. Emissions from both domestic shipping and rail freight will be two lbs per 100 passenger miles each. (See table 4.)
Because the transportation system is characterized by large fixed investments, slow capital stock turnover and limited opportunity to alter behavior in the short term, no indicator level has been set for the year 2000. In particular, because automobile production plans for the year 2000 are set, any near-term progress toward these indicator levels could only be achieved primarily through shifts in the mode of transportation used, increased vehicle occupancy or load factors, and perhaps increased use of alternative fuels.
There is considerably more opportunity to reduce emissions in the next 15 years through a combination of behavioral factors and technological market shifts, including a small penetration of "New Generation" technologies. The Annual Energy Outlook 1994 projects that on-road vehicle efficiencies will increase 14 percent between 1990 and 2010. 47 However, continued erosion of occupancy or load factors may reduce the benefits from this change. Thus, obtaining significant improvement in emissions per mile could still require a combination of technology improvements and behavioral shifts.
The year 2025 indicator represents a substantial penetration of "New Generation Vehicles" in the personal transportation fleet along with other policies that would decrease emissions in the freight sector.
Context: Traffic Congestion
Congestion puts a high economic burden on society--accidents, wasted time, excessive fuel consumption, and additional pollution per mile traveled. Further, congestion is increasing rapidly in most urban and suburban areas. A measure commonly employed by the National Highway Administration to gauge the driving conditions on major urban highways is the volume to capacity ratio. Moderate congestion is defined as a volume-to-capacity ratio of 0.7 or above, with severely congested conditions defined as volume-to-capacity over 0.95 (that is bumper-to-bumper. Over 50 percent of urban highway travel occurs in moderately congested conditions, a figure that is projected to increase to 80 percent in 2000. Reducing the growth in vehicle miles traveled per capita and increasing access to jobs, goods, and services and recreation by alternatives to personal motor transportation (the next two indicators) will probably have a significant impact on congestion.
Historical DataBetween 1983 and 1990, the number of daily vehicle trips per household grew from 4.1 to 4.7. The average length of these trips increased from 7.9 to 8.9 miles.50 The Roadway Congestion Index (developed by the Texas Transportation Institute for 50 urban areas nationwide) shows that from 1982 to 1990 cities with the greatest population density had the most congestion and the greatest increases in congestion; 47 of the 50 cities experienced congestion increases.51 Traffic congestion in 1990 was also measured as costing, on average, 200,000 hours of delay and $860 million in fuel costs and delay time.52
ForecastBy 1999 at least half of vehicle miles traveled are expected to occur in bumper-to-bumper traffic--compared to 31 percent in 1989--and almost four-fifths of urban interstate travel will be in severely congested traffic - compared to 53 percent in 1989.53 In 1990, 11 billion hours were spent in traffic congestion.54 While this represents only a small fraction of the total time spent in travel, it has significant economic impacts especially in the most congested areas.55
Context: Reducing the Need to Travel while Improving Accessibility
Historical DataAverage vehicle miles traveled per capita in light duty vehicles (personal cars and trucks) rose 25 percent between 1980 and 1991.56 The average vehicle occupancy during all trips in 1990 was 1.6 persons. However, occupancy was lowest (1.1) for work trips and highest (2.1) for social/recreational trips. Occupancy rates for social/recreational trips remained the same between 1983 and 1990 but fell from 1.3 to 1.1 persons for home-to-work trips.57 The number of passengers carried by the transit industry remained approximately the same (8.5-8.6 billion) between 1980 and 1992, with small declines in bus transit and small increases in rail transit.58
ForecastsThe Annual Energy Outlook 1995 Supplemental Reference Case forecasts a further increase of about 25 percent in vehicle miles traveled per-capita (in light duty vehicles) between 1990 and 2010.59 The estimates are a function of the cost of driving per mile, income per capita, ratio of female to male vehicle miles traveled, and age distribution of the driving population.60 The slower growth in vehicle miles traveled relative to earlier periods occurs because of slower growth of the driving-age population and demographic aging trends. Some have questioned whether the increased growth in vehicle miles traveled over the past ten years can be expected to continue and attribute the increase to relatively faster growth in driving-age population and changes in demographic trends.
Stabilizing vehicle miles traveled could require significant changes in land use, transportation infrastructure, mass transit, and commuting patterns. The Task Force's indicator is very aggressive relative to current trends, as vehicle miles traveled have been increasing by over by percent per year and vehicle miles traveled per capita have been increasing over two percent per year.61 Nevertheless, recent statutes such as the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 as well as state efforts have begun to focus on reducing the growth in transportation demand.62 For example, the state of Oregon requires planning in urban areas to attempt to reach goals similar to this target. The Task Force is particularly concerned that the attainment of this indicator be reached by providing alternatives that enhance affordable access to jobs, services, and recreation for low income people. Alternatives to single occupancy driving include: increasing passengers in a personal vehicle, using public transport, trains, or planes, walking, bicycling, and other transport.
Projections of vehicle miles traveled in 2025 vary by over 50 percent, depending on demographic and other factors. Forecasts of policy responses also vary. For example, reputable estimates of the price elasticity of vehicle miles traveled to gasoline prices can vary substantially, depending on the magnitude of price changes and the time horizon for behavioral and technology adjustments.
Context: Improving Accessibility
Historic DataIn 1990, 87 percent of all personal trips were made by private vehicles, seven percent by walking, two percent by school buses, two percent by public transportation, one percent by bicycles, and the rest by Amtrak, planes, taxis, and other means.63 For persons who lived outside metropolitan areas, 89.4 percent of all trips were made by personal vehicles, 0.5 percent were made by public transport, 5.6 percent were made by walking and the rest by other means.64 In 1990, 62 percent of all trips were five miles or less. Of these, 82.8 percent were made by private vehicles, 11.5 percent by walking, 2.6 percent by school bus, 1.5 percent by public transport, and 1.0 percent by bicycle.65 The purposes of trips in 1990 were family and personal (42 percent), social and recreational (25 percent), earning a living (22 percent), civic, educational, and religious (10 percent), and other (1 percent).66
ForecastsThe number of conventional corporate employees who telecommute rose from 2.4 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 1994, according to Link Resources and Find/SVP. Find/SVP estimates that the figures will climb to 11 million by 2000. If contract workers are included, all of these numbers will rise by 25-30 percent.67 A 1991 Harris Poll showed that 23 percent of U.S. adults would sometimes commute to work by bicycle if safe bicycle lanes or paths were available. Three out of six adults said they would walk more if there were safe paths or walkways. Five percent of adults reported walking or bicycling as their primary means of transportation; but given adequate facilities, 13 percent would prefer to meet their transportation needs by walking or bicycling.68 If the United States were to make a concerted effort, it would stand a good chance of substantially improving overall travel efficiency, and reducing the volume of travel that would otherwise be achieved."69
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