Gas Crisis- 40 years Ago Today; a Primer
The OPEC induced gas crisis, during the Nixon Administration, produced long gas lines as average Americans began to realize that energy independence was a matter of national security. At least one very young entrepreneur 😉 turned said crisis into an opportunity by selling cold soda and candy along one of those gas lines. More importantly, the crisis is seen as the swift kick in the pants Uncle Sam needed to start thinking about exploring new sources of oil and possible alternative energy sources.
Forty years ago, on Oct. 17, 1973, the world experienced its first “oil shock” as Arab exporters declared an embargo on shipments to Western countries. The OPEC embargo was prompted by America’s military support for Israel, which was repelling a coordinated surprise attack by Arab countries that had begun on Oct. 6, the sacred Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.
Yet the crisis meant even more because it was the birth of the modern era of energy.
The push to find alternatives to oil boosted nuclear power and coal as secure domestic sources of electric power.
The iconic images of the 1970s—gas lines and angry motorists—are trotted out whenever some new disruption happens.
There will be future energy disruptions because there is still much political risk around oil.
The real lesson of the shock of 1973 and the second oil shock set off by the overthrow of Iran’s shah in 1979 is that they provided incentives—and imperatives—to develop new resources. Block quote credit Daniel Yergin “Why OPEC No Longer Calls the Shots” Wall Street Journal 10/15/13
Wind and solar energy innovation, cars that run on alternative fuels, oil exploration in the North Sea, Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, Canadian oil sands, shale gas and “fracking” all came about thanks to OPEC’s shortsightedness. While America has yet to achieve anything near complete energy independence, we started down the path in that direction 40 years ago today. By the way, that young gas-line entrepreneur used at least some of his profits to see a man named Woody Allen in the movie “Sleeper.” – Grizzly Joe