The IEA uses "energy intensity" as an index to measure energy efficiency, an "intensity" being the energy used per unit of activity—for example, the gasoline used per mile driven by a car. The IEA has reported that, as a result of declining energy intensities, significant energy savings began around the world in 1973, when the first oil "price shock" hit, and lasted through the mid- to late 1980s. The IEA concluded that the changes caused by the 1970s oil crises, including the revisions in energy policy that came out of the crises, had a substantially greater impact on reducing energy consumption than energy conservation and efficiency policies implemented in the 1990s. Declining energy intensities, according to the IEA, led to significantly reduced energy costs since 1973, but the reductions in energy intensities have been much more modest since the late 1980s, so the rate of energy savings has slowed since then. According to the IEA energy use for cars is much greater in countries with low fuel prices and there is a correlation between higher fuel prices and lower vehicle fuel intensity and travel per capita. See below for a full report on the IEA findings.
International Energy Agency (IEA) Report: Energy Prices and Taxes, 1st Quarter 2004: "Thirty Years of Energy Prices and Savings"1
Fridtjof Unander, Senior Energy Analyst Energy Technology Policy Division
Was this article helpful?