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1973 Oil Crisis

Those of you age 40 and over (yes, this means you, too!) should remember the oil crisis of 1973.  It started in October of that year when the member nations of the Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) abruptly decided to stop exporting oil to the United States and several other countries.  The U.S. was most affected, however, because we’d already developed an addiction to driving by the 1970’s, and the average vehicle earned less than 15 miles per gallon.  There’s always been a love – hate relationship between the U.S. and the nations of the Arabian region.  American geologists discovered oil beneath the sands of the Saudi deserts in the 1930’s, but full-scale production didn’t begin until after World War II.  That coincided with the rise in automobile usage in the U.S. and the construction of the massive interstate highway system.  The Saudi people moved from a feudal-type existence into the modern world – and got rich in the process.  But, the governments of the various OPEC nations despised the U.S. for its liberal ideals, such as allowing women to vote and drive the vehicles that needed all that oil and its support of Israel.  This latter factor has always been a sore point between the U.S. and the OPEC countries – then as now.  And, it was actually the primary reason for the OPEC embargo.  Egypt unexpectedly attacked Israel on October 6, 1973, and the U.S., of course, took Israel’s side.  The embargo lasted into 1974 and made Americans more conscious of their energy consumption.  I remember scenes like those depicted in these photos.  They’re not what one would call “sweet memories.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: David Falconer / EPA

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