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Etiology Of The Energy Crisis In One Lecture

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Thermodynamics, Fluids, and Heat Transfer-Part I

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.527.1 - 15.527.14



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Paper Authors


B.K. Hodge Mississippi State University

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B. K. Hodge is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Mississippi State University (MSU) where he serves as the TVA Professor of Energy Systems and the Environment and is a Giles Distinguished Professor and a Grisham Master Teacher. He is the author of more than 180 conference papers and archival journal articles and three textbooks and served as President of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Southeastern Section for the 1999-2000 Academic Year. He was the 2004-2005 Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Division of the ASEE at the national level. He is a Fellow of the ASEE and the ASME.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Etiology of the Energy Crisis in One Lecture

Abstract A dominant feature of the twenty-first century has been concerns over the costs, availability, economics, security, and environmental issues associated with energy in the United States and the rest of the world. This paper is an extension of presentations made by the author over the past few years to audiences as varied as freshmen-to-senior engineering students, practicing engineers, political leaders, and the general public. Using energy and cost data primarily from the DOE Energy Information Administration and the World Bank, a presentation can be crafted that suits various audiences and that can be readily updated as new information becomes available. Essentially all of the information is available in the public domain, but this paper assembles the information into a cogent sequence.


The purpose of this paper is to provide to diverse audiences, especially engineering students, a concise (less than one hour) lecture that explains how we arrived at the current energy scenario and how we might mitigate the current energy problems (read “crisis”). Awareness and understanding of the United States energy situation is vital for tomorrow’s engineers—today’s students. Future engineers must interact with and advise the general public as well as political leaders on energy issues. The energy education of future engineers is especially important as neither of the major political parties has yet to champion a realistic and workable energy policy for the future. Using public domain energy and cost data from the DOE Energy Information Administration and the World Bank, a cogent presentation can be crafted that contains elements of the etiology of the energy crisis, that suits various audiences, and that can be readily updated as new information becomes available.


Figure 1, a mosaic of satellites photographs at night of the United States, is a rather dramatic illustration of the population density and dispersion in the United States as indicated by the energy intensity distribution of night lighting (primarily electricity usage). Figure 1 is a visually eye-catching illustration to open a presentation on energy. This figure, as well as many of the illustrations in this paper, was taken from the U. S. DOE Energy Information Administration (EIA) document, Annual Energy Report 20081. Every June, the EIA issues a detailed report cataloging the energy usage of the previous year. The yearly issue thus provides an easy way to update energy usage and statistics. The current and previous editions of the Annual Energy Report (AER) are available at

An irrefutable fact is that the developed countries (the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom….) use more energy per capita than the less-developed countries (Mexico, Indonesia….). Figure 2, using World Bank data (2009)2, dramatically illustrates the relationship between income and per capita energy use. High income countries, the “developed” countries,

Hodge, B. (2010, June), Etiology Of The Energy Crisis In One Lecture Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16673

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