THE COAL SHORTAGE.
The question of fuel supply is always an important one both with water works and fire departments, and is especially a vexing one at the present time. This is true in an unusual degree as regards the matter of coal. The extra demands by the Government and by industries working on the Government contracts have produced a situation that is acute in the extreme, and that increases the problems of those charged with the maintenance of the power stations of water works and the providing of fuel for coal burning fire engines a hundredfold. In a statement made public on November 14, H. A. Garfield, fuel administrator of the United States Government, announced that the probable coal shortage would amount to at least 50,000,000 tons, and warned the users of the fuel that the utmost economy must be observed in its use. A survey of the entire situation by the fuel administration, he said, showed that the needs of the nation for fuel have developed to a point where the demand threatens to outstrip the supply, though through their efforts, seconded by others, the annual output has been increased by approximately 50,000,000 tons. But it is figured that the consumption of coal has increased by 100,000,000 tons, leaving the gap of 50,000,000 tons to be bridged. To close up’ this gap between the production and the consumption, Mr. Garfield said, the fuel administration would take steps to increase production, facilitate transportation, and enforce the most economical use of the available coal supply. In discussing the car shortage Dr. Garfield said that every effort was being made to map out a program which would give the greatest efficiency. Coal operators have stated that the lack of cars was the greatest impediment to increased output. The curtailment of the nonessential industries, it is believed, will help to relieve this condition, as well as clear the roads for the carrying of the output of the Government factories. He is determined that the Government industries, public utilities, and domestic consumers shall be supplied. To this end the co-operation of every coal user of the country will be necessary. The fuel administration will use all of its authority to prevent the waste of fuel and appeals to domestic consumers and all others to conserve their supplies.