Late in the autumn of 1973, energy (or the lack of it) grabbed headlines like never before. It was not until the war between the Arab countries and Israel that the United States noticed a sharp decrease in our oil supplies. This was due to the fact that we – the U.S. – were supplying aids and weapons to Israel. Arab, who produced the majority of the worlds oil, decided to punish us by cutting off our oil shipments.
In November of the same year, President Nixon appeared on live television to inform the United States public about the crisis. He informed the people they were going to have the most crucial energy shortage since World War II.
In order to conserve energy there were a few emergency polies being enforced. These new rules were said to help everyone get through the shortage, but they ended up having the opposite effect. A few of the policies included lowering highway speed limits to 55 miles per hour in hopes of saving gasoline. Also, factories worked shorter shifts and air travel time was cut by about 10 percent.
During this time, children were effected a lot. Nixon ordered that clocks were not to be turned back an hour late as they usually were in October. Instead, the U.S. was to stay on summers daylight savings time in order to conserve energy. Therefore, kids had to go to school when it was still dark. Some children carried with them flashlights.
Christmas was a very sad time in 1973. People were unable to use Christmas lights or any other electronic decorations in order to save energy. The President announced that because of the crisis, the lights of the national Christmas tree would not be turned on.
Increase of prices made it hard for families to buy things and pay bills. Demand for oil created hardships for gas station owners as well. There were long lines of cars snaking for miles, and impatient drivers starting fights and sometimes shooting one another.
Nixon proposed that the best solution to future trouble would be to completely eliminate the use of foreign oil. He suggested that Americans find other sources of energy along with finding new oil reserves in the United States. The President asked for more concentration on the use of coal and the development of other power sources such as solar or nuclear energy.
Obviously Nixon’s solution did not help as the demand for oil became greater. With the increase in technology and factories, alternative forms of energy showed to be more expensive than originally thought.
Although the U.S. now has a wide variety of energy sources, it is still a good idea to conserve our energy. History does repeat, and we never know when a sudden shortage may occur.