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Running On Empty

Posted by Jim Botticelli  October 7, 2013 12:31 PM

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BlogEnergyCrisis, 1973Rossu.jpg
A motorist pushes his empty car on Hyde Park Av, 1973

"Is fuel efficiency really what we need most desperately? I say what we really need is a car that can be shot when it breaks down." ... Russell Baker

It was a shock to the system. Suddenly gasoline prices that long held steady at 32.9 a gallon regular began to take off. Boomers, used to the relative economic stability of 60's American fuel prices, experienced a crisis of confidence. Call it a first world problem, and it mos' def is, but this writer remembers his then girlfriend getting up at 5am to get in line early to feed her Firebird. Car-free me? I just pressed the snooze button. Frequently she'd return dejected. The stations, she'd report, were already out of fuel. Time for the C-line, a virtual cattle car.
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The OPEC oil embargo was no joke. It sent U.S. Markets into a tailspin and catalyzed a rising round of prices that by the end of the 70's was referred to as 'Double Digit Inflation'. Many blamed the embargo as a response to U.S. Intervention in the Yom Kippur War. Maybe it was, but only in part. A couple of other factors were in play. The U.S. created its own House of Cards by pulling out of the Bretton Woods Accord in 1971. That accord had kept the value of the dollar attached to the price of gold and all other currencies attached to their value of the dollar. Following the U.S. dropout, a period of fluctuation followed while currencies adjusted to the New Reality and worked out exactly what was the value of their dollar-equivalents. OPEC didn't take to kindly to this as they saw their own profits plunge. The embargo, in hindsight, appears to have been brought on more by the fluctuating currencies of OPEC's consumers than by any political or military conflicts. But it was a hellvua time here, I tell ya, a helluva time.

"Oil prices have fallen lately. We include this for the benefit of gas stations which otherwise wouldn't have learned about it for six months." ... Bill Tammeus/Toronto's National Newspaper

Thanks to the ever ready Wikipedia for info.
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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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