Current Weather
The Spy FM

Gas Lines Evoke Memories Of Oil Crises In The 1970s

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
November 10, 2012

Gas lines in America may be rare, but they’re not unprecedented.

The gas shortage in the Northeast, the result of Superstorm Sandy, is inflicting plenty of pain. But it’s a localized phenomenon that’s not expected to last for long.

During two separate oil crises in the 1970s, Americans from coast to coast faced persistent gas shortages as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, flexed its muscles and disrupted oil supplies.

In 1973 and again in 1979, drivers frequently faced around-the-block lines when they tried to fill up.

Drivers would go to stations before dawn or late at night, hoping to avoid the lines.

Odd-even rationing was introduced — meaning that if the last digit on your license plate was odd, you could get gas only on odd-numbered days. New Jersey and New York have just reintroduced the system.

Back in the ’70s, some gas stations took to posting flags — green if they had gas, yellow if rationing was in effect and red if they were out of gas.

To conserve gas, the maximum speed limit was cut to 55 miles per hour. To cut energy consumption in the broader economy, daylight saving time was introduced year-round at the beginning of 1974, facing criticism from parents whose kids had to go to school before sunrise in the winter months.

When the second crisis hit in 1979-80, President Carter described combating it as the “moral equivalent of war,” and many Americans feared that oil shocks would be a recurring nightmare.

Since that crisis, gas prices have surged or fallen, but U.S. oil supplies have been relatively stable, and lines at the pump have, with rare exceptions, remained mercifully short. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

Listen Live Now!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center