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Kandalynn Naidl

Ms. Patalano


21 September 2017

No more oil

There were many hints and contributors to the oil crisis; understanding the state of

countries before and after the embargo, the politics that influenced the event, and the overall

reaction, is crucial in learning from our mistakes. As populations increased, and wars began, the

demand for energy increased and spread worldwide. The energy crisis of the 1970s was like a

rock skipping across a pond in the ripples of decisions to come. Politically, economically, and

interpersonally, we would never be the same.

The quest for more powerful energy sources was propelled by the inventions and

discoveries of the Industrial Revolution. In 1941, America was responsible for supplying 60% of

the world with oil. From 1950-1960, there was a worldwide population increase of 18.5%. In

1960, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), was created. The

prices of petroleum slowly began to increase from 2.2 cents a kilowatt in 1966, to 4 cents a

kilowatt in 1977. As energy prices increased, so did the percentage of interest on appliances:

from 5% in 1950, to 15% in the late 1970s. In 1970, U.S oil production in the lower 48 States

reached its highest level of 9.4 million barrels per day, confirming the 1956 prediction of M.

King Hubbert (History of Alternative Energy and Fossil Fuels, 2013). In 1970, U.S oil

production rapidly began to decline, and the Clean Air Act was established. In 1971 President

Nixon decided to take the United States off of the gold standard. This meant countries could no

longer redeem the U.S. dollars in their foreign exchange reserves for gold, the gold standard was
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founded by the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1944. The price of gold soared, whilst the value of

the dollar to dropped.

In October of 1973, the U.S conducted operation Nickel Grass. This mission supplied

Israel with 50,000 tons of equipment: 20,000 tons of airlifted and 30,000 tons sea lifted.

Meanwhile the soviets supplied Syria with 75,000 tons of equipment: 60,000 tons airlifted and

15,000 sea lifted. To protest the American military support of Israel in its war with Egypt and

Syria, a few days later Arab oil producers cut off exports to Australia, Canada, Japan, New

Zealand, the United States, and Western Europe. As stated by Greg Myre, in NPRs The 1973

Arab oil embargo, this brought skyrocketing gas prices, long lines at filling stations, and it

contributed to a major economic downturn in the U.S. The embargo reduced traded oil supplies

by 14 percent internationally. Gasoline prices in the United States increased as much as 40

percent within a few months. In 1973, 30% of total U.S oil consumption was imported, this

increased to 50% within the next four years, (Oil dependency and U.S foreign policy, 2017).

Consumers in Europe, Japan, and the United States begin to panic over oil shortages.

Oil proved to be the most important consideration in Americas Middle Eastern policy,

which called for reconstruction in foreign policy, energy research, and public awareness.

Americans began to hoard gas supplies, which caused gas rationing, and price controls.

Depending on even or odd licence plate numbers, you could buy up to 10 gallons that day. Due

to limited amounts of gas, the national speed limit was reduced to 55 miles per hour to conserve

gas, (Greg Myre, "The old rules no longer apply," NPR, 2013.) On November 7, 1973, President

Nixon announced "Project Independence," a goal of U.S. energy independence by 1980.

Between 1974 and 1978, U.S. consumption of imports nearly doubled, and oil demand rose by

about 2.1 million barrels per day, (EIA Petroleum Data, 2016 ).
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The 19th century is a time we should reflect on and understand why decisions were made and

why different ones will be made the second time. In 1973 an oil embargo sent the U.S and five

other countries into a reconstruction of the economy. The memories of having to budget finances

in order to be mobile and/or provide transportation is still practiced by those who experienced

the crisis. Oil is a necessity ranging from transportation to personal hygiene to food. The

International Energy Agency (IEA) was created in response to the energy crisis of 1973, its main

goal to coordinate with other countries about the disruptions in oil or energy supply. Today the

IEA is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing authoritative research, statistics,

analysis and recommendations. In the 21st century Americans use 20 of the 80 billion gallons of

fuel used daily. Three fifths of that is imported. In 2000, the price of gasoline was $1.52, today

gasoline is $2.50 (on the mainland), in less than 20 years, gas has gone up $1. Only 10% of the

fuel used by the United States is renewable. Worldwide, only 22% of our total fuel use is from

renewable resources; by 2020, it is expected to increase to 26% (Renewables to lead world

power market growth to 2020, 2015). We can not be dependent on a resource that is deplenishing

in amount and the Earth of its nutrients and clean air. We need to continue to reflect on prior

events and take into consideration the possibilities of the future. Look ahead 20 years from now.

The energy crisis of the 1970s had a huge impact on those living in the U.S. at the time,

economically, politically, and interpersonally the world will never be the same. By reducing our

dependence on fossil fuels, recycling, reusing, and looking for alternative and clean energy

sources, we will come closer to our goal of Energy Reformation. We need to follow through

with past promises and establish laws, changes, that reflect on the heavy impact of the energy

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Works Cited:

Amadeo, Kimberly. The Truth About the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo. The Balance, 1 July 2017,

History of Alternative Energy and Fossil Fuels . ProConorg Headlines, 13 May 2013,
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History of the Energy System. Environmental Decision Making, Science, and Technology,


Macalister, Terry. Background: What Caused the 1970s Oil Price Shock? The Guardian,

Guardian News and Media, 3 Mar. 2011,

Myre, Greg. The 1973 Arab Oil Embargo: The Old Rules No Longer Apply. NPR, NPR, 16

Oct. 2013,


Oil Dependence and U.S. Foreign Policy. Council on Foreign Relations, Council on Foreign


Oil Embargo 1973-1974. Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State, 2017,

OPERATION NICKEL GRASS. Weapons and Warfare, 22 Dec. 2015,

Powering the Past: A Look Back. Energy Crisis's of the 1970's, Smithsonian Institution, Sept.


Rapier, Robert. How the 1973 Oil Embargo Still Affects US Energy Agenda, 24 Oct. 2013,

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Today in Energy. History of Energy Consumption in the U.S, U.S. Energy Information

Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis, 9 Feb. 2011,