Energy Supply Interruptions and National Security

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Science  27 Mar 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4489, pp. 1379-1385
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4489.1379


Vulnerability to oil supply interruptions poses serious threats to the U.S. economy and the life-style of its citizens. The Iranian cutbacks in 1979 resulted in price increases of 120 percent in 1 year and gasoline lines across the country. Creation and use of ample public and private stocks could moderate price increases after another interruption and prevent disruption of supplies. Use of the marketplace to allocate shortages, coupled with rebates to cushion blows to the economy and hardship to individuals, would be eminently more efficient than government allocation programs. International cooperation, through coordination of stock buildup and withdrawal, could mitigate the damage from oil disruptions among all the Western nations.