Ever since the Arab oil embargo of 1974, the West has sought to find alternatives to its dependence on imported oil. The West, however, has had little overall success. It has made progress in conservation and in reducing its need for energy as a percentage of GNP, but it has fallen far short of its goals in finding new sources of energy. Developing new energy sources like coal and nuclear power has proved to present far more problems than the West estimated when it began its search for alternative fuels. Synthetic fuels, and wind and geothermal energy, have proved technically difficult and too costly for commercial scale production.