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For example, the Swedish response to the lack of oil during WWII included rationed oil, wood gasifiers, but also promotion (and I think expansion) of public transport and promotion of biking (saw a lovely little piece of propaganda where the husband does not want to bike because "I am a grown man, biking is for boys", but the wife pushes it with patriotism and health arguments. Wife wins of course and husband becomes stronger and healthier - indeed more manly then before).
Promoting and expanding public transport and biking can be done (and should be done). In addition city planning can be done to decrease commutes and spreading services so that basic services are within walking distance. These actions would save energy (wheter for powering down or using for something else) as well as promoting health, public interaction and human scaled neighbourhoods.
Hm, going of on a tangent apparently. What I meant to say is that decreasing power use while increasing utility is very possible indeed, and there are examples of it being done.
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