If your household could cut its oil consumption by 10 percent a year, you'd probably be happy. But the West Germans, who did just that in 1980, aren't. Despite this national success story -- just revealed in a report by ESSO of Hamburg -- the West German press has paid little or no attention.And what commentary there has been, has tended to emphasize the negative reasons for the reduction: a slowed economic growth rate (only 2 percent) and an oil-price hike to about $31 a barrel, for a total 1980 bill of $30 billion -- up from $22 billion in 1979.
The press has also grumbled that, with natural gas prices fast rising to the level of oil, a reduction in use of the latter may not be advantageous.
The use of two other substitute fuels -- imported coal and nuclear power -- is increasing little, if any. Powerful opposition to increased coal-imports has blocked less-costly foreign coal from coming in large quantities. And grass- roots opposition to nuclear power has kept that sector stagnant for a decade.m