The purpose of this paper is to bring to the attention of the broad spectrum of specialists currently concerned with the energy question in the United States the necessity for using a yardstick other than energy for assessing the effectiveness of fuel usage.

In establishing present patterns of energy consumption, the standard procedure is to find the total amount of energy used in each sector of the economy and, thus, to determine the needs of each sector for different fuels. The term energy in this connection is ambiguous. For example, the heat required in an industrial process may be added to the electrical work required or to the “heating value” of the fuel consumed in producing the electrical work required. None of these quantities represents energy consumed in the process, because it is known from the first law of thermodynamics that energy, rather than being...

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