Though an embargo on Mideast oil imports would still have a "severe" effect on the US economy, the Carter administration's energy measures have reduced oil imports, Energy Secreatry Charles W. Duncan Jr. told a CBS "Face the Nation" television panel Sunday.
Mr. Duncan said imports have dropped from an annual average of 8.5 to 8.6 million barrels per day in 1977 to a probable figure below 7 million b.p.d. for 1980 and were only 6.8 million b.p.d. during this year's first five months, Monitor correspondent John K. Cooley reports. Gasoline consumption dropped 8.1 percent from the same period last year, the secretary added.
Mr. Duncan said the administration's long-delayed energy bill, most of which has now passed Congress, would speed "de-linkage" of the economic growth rate from energy consumption, a principle the Western industrial nations agreed at their recent Venice summit meeting to apply.
Mr. Duncan predicted that "gasoline is going . . . to follow the market" in price trends, as the US gasoline price is still far below that in other in dustrial countries. He called for extra effort in gasoline conservation, in cluding car pooling.