Interview Of My Grandfather: The Gas Shortage in the 70’s


Interview of my grandfather

The gas shortage, that affected many during their everyday life, happened in the 70’s. The Arab nations are the ones that produce oil for the U.S., but they introduced an embargo due to the U.S. helping Israel’s military. In other words, it was an official ban on trade. Thus the starting of the gas shortage in the U.S., and this actually was an eye opener to the U.S. because it showed we as consumers used a lot of oil.

As it continued the gas shortage got worse and then we finally gave out $5 per person, and there was a line a real long line… We would pump until we ran out of gas. People they would argue, and sometimes it would get to the point where they were fighting just to get into line.

Although there were long lines at most places, gas stations had their own rules about when they were open or who they decided to serve. Some had signs up that said “gas by appointment” and others that said, “regular customers only”.  After a while, some places began to use odd-even rationing systems and Oregan was the first state to begin doing so. Once the rationing system started it was Monday-Friday, Saturday was for everyone and then Sundays the gas station would be closed.

Jimmy Carter, the president at the time, had asked people to use less fuel. He had said, “We must not be selfish or timid if we hope to have a decent world for our children and grandchildren.” Because he had asked to reduce the fuel consumption some people decided to start carpool groups if they needed to go somewhere. Which helped more people to be able to go places. There were even carpool services that you could call. They began posting signs up about it. They had also started changing the speed limits on the roads and it was very enforced by the law. The motto was “drive slow and save gas.”  Jimmy Carter strongly encouraged to save as much as possible. He even said to use public transportation instead of driving.

Encouraged carpooling

In over a period of a year the price doubled, so everytime I was buying gas it cost me twice as much to buy gas which really hurt my budget. And I had to wait for customers to buy my gas at a higher price just to get my money back.

As you would imagine the prices of gas escalated tremendously. It sky rocketed through the ceiling. Gas stations had to make their customers pay more because they had to pay more to get the gas. If you look at the site below there is a graph that shows how high gas really was. As well as a comparison of what gas cost all the way up to 2007.


The graph can show you how years after the shortage gas eventually began to rise again. And although prices do slowly go up the U.S. saves a certain percentage of oil just in case of another embargo. They realized exactly how much oil we actually use, and it turned out we use 20% more than most of the world, and this is because we don’t necessarily like public transportation.



Sites (further reading)






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