olling blackouts arrived in California last week, just as OPEC solidified plans to roll back production to keep oil prices where nobody else wants them -- up.

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Anybody who recalls the energy crisis of the 1970s will recall that it was not a happy time for the travel industry. Fuel-intensive activities, such as aviation, were hit hard. Many perfectly good airplanes were mothballed, and a few worthy airlines were irreparably damaged. Capturing an image of the nation's new tilt toward conservation, this newspaper ran a Page 1 photo showing what was then the Pan Am building on Park Avenue in New York -- with the lights on the Pan Am logo at the pinnacle ominously turned off.

"Recreational travel" was tagged initially by federal regulators as an easy target for energy conservation along with home swimming pool heaters and other "nonessentials." Much of the tourism industry's lobbying power in Washington today, and its ability to marshall the facts about its contribution to employment and the balance of trade, can be traced to those dark days.

We've been lucky since, and we remain fortunate today. So far, the outlook for continued discretionary spending on travel has not been compromised. And so far, the experts are not predicting a return to our former preoccupation with thermostats, insulation, gas mileage, sweaters, wood-burning stoves, energy tax credits and other icons of malaise. So far.

Still, it would be prudent to give your homes and businesses a brief energy audit to spot any gross excesses. Review your lighting, insulation, HVAC systems, vehicles. If your agency is delivering tickets using a three-ton sports utility vehicle, you might want to ask yourself if there's anything wrong with that picture. Factor in energy use when evaluating old equipment for replacement. Caulk the windows.

It may not be time to get fanatical about it, but any time is a good time for heightened awareness.

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