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An examination of the causes and consequences of the growing demand for energy, especially electricity, in the United States. In the 1960s, the U.S. per capita consumption of energy increased 2.7 percent annually, due to growing affluence as well as growing population. In fact, the per capita consumption of energy is now increasing more than twice as fast as population. Due to the scarcity of fossil fuel resources, the current unavailability of other sources of energy, environmental problems, and our inability to finance and build the necessary facilities fast enough, we may have to devise voluntary and legal methods of reducing the rate of growth in demand for energy. To do so, we must have improved methods of forecasting demand and identifying the primary causes of demand. Correlation methods relating consumption to determinants of use are more satisfactory than extrapolation methods projecting future growth as a continuation of past growth.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.