Skip to main content

Monday Madness-The Quest for Oil

So while I'm constantly complaining about the sky rocketing gas prices an older gentlemen said, "I don't care how high the prices go as long as we have oil." So of course I had to see what he was talking about.
He then went on to explain the oil crisis that happened in the 70's which of course I don't remember because I wasn't around then but I was surprised that I never heard about this before.

For those who have no idea what I'm talking about let me tell you what he told me...

1973 Oil Crisis

Basically gas was limited. What an inconvience this must have been!

This man told me he remembers clear as day when he went to the gas station and there were lines and lines of cars down the highways or around the block for people to get gas because of the shortage that was happening in the U.S.

He said while this cause a huge inconvience for people some were making profit. Some gas attendants would give gas to people only if you paid them double the amount. He said he used to give gas attendants double sometimes.

Some kids would walk down the line of cars waiting for gas and tell them they have to pay in advance before they could get the gas. So people would give them their money while waiting in line and when they got to the pump they found out it was a scam.

Sometimes while waiting in the long lines, gas stations would run out of gas and an attendant would walk to the line to put a sign on the back of a car stating they were the last car in line to get gas. Some people behind that car would steal the sign and put it behind their car.

The demand of gas got so high that some people would fill up even though they had like three quarters of gas already. So there would be a rule that the gas attendant would check to see where your gas needle was. If it appeared you had enough gas, over a certain amount then you got kicked out the line.

People got so desperate for gas that some would leave their cars at the gas station over night then walk home so in the morning they would be first at the gas station.

I had to look this up...

The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) (consisting of the Arab members of OPEC, plus Egypt, Syria and Tunisia) proclaimed an oil embargo "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war; it lasted until March 1974.

...the shock produced chaos in the West. In the United States, the retail price of a gallon of gasoline (petrol) rose from a national average of 38.5 cents in May 1973 to 55.1 cents in June 1974!

Yeah 55 cents doesn't sound like much to us now but back then that was a lot and the gas prices are jumping up like that now.

Things got crazy....

- State governments requested citizens not put up Christmas lights, with Oregon banning Christmas as well as commercial lighting altogether. Politicians called for a national gas rationing program.

- Nixon requested gasoline stations to voluntarily not sell gasoline on Saturday nights or Sundays; 90% of owners complied, which resulted in lines on weekdays.

- The American Automobile Association reported that in the last week of February 1974, 20% of American gasoline stations had no fuel at all.

- In the U.S., odd-even rationing was implemented; drivers of vehicles with license plates having an odd number as the last digit  were allowed to purchase gasoline for their cars only on odd-numbered days of the month, while drivers of vehicles with even-numbered license plates were allowed to purchase fuel only on even-numbered days.

- To help reduce consumption, in 1974 a national maximum speed limit of 55 mph (about 88 km/h) was imposed through the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act.

How gas price controls sparked '70s shortage

So why does this concern me? I know it happened over thirty years ago but it has relevance now. Our dependence on oil is high and when I say "our" I'm talking about the U.S of course. Imagine this happening now with the overseas situation that is currently happening. A gas panic would really shake up our economy. History is known to repeat itself...I'm just saying.

Fear of oil shortage due to protest in Libya