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Check Out Those Long Lines at the Gas Pumps!

Today when the gas tank of the car is running on empty usually it is easy to fill it up. Well, if this were 1973, it wouldn't be that easy. First we'd have to check the last number of our license plate, is it odd or even? If we have the correct number we can go to the gas station. Now we'd have to wait in line for AT LEAST an hour before getting to the pumps. Ok, now we're here, but we can only put ten gallons into the tank. Most cars take at least 15 gallons. That means we wouldn't be able to fill up the tank and would have to start the whole process over the day after tomorrow when it would be our turn again. Did I forget to mention that the price of gas would have doubled since the week before? Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But this is exactly what was happening during the Oil Embargo of 1973.

Gas prices go sky high.
Whether putting gas in your car, heating your home on a cold winter evening, or plugging in your computer to surf the Internet, you are using fuel. In the 50s, no one gave much thought to where or how our energy came to us. But in the sixties, things began to change. A war began in the Middle East between Syria and Israel. As a result, the countries that produced oil decided to punish the 'friends' of Israel. They did this by shipping less oil to those countries. This reduced the amount of oil available to the American people. This is what caused those long lines and strange rules. Since so many things we do everyday consume fuel, not having any oil was terrible.

People, as well as the government, had to come face to face with the fact that we were using a lot oil, and that this oil was not going to last forever. In response to the oil shortage of the 60s, the government formed the Energy Department. They worked on plans to find more resources so the U.S. would not be dependent on other countries. The search for new sources began around the country. Housing laws were changed so that people wouldn't have to use their heaters as much. The government also began helping to support the creation of new energy sources, like wind and solar power. Americans were learning how to tighten their belts when it came to energy usage.

One part of the energy problem is that no single thing is going to be the solution. Even if we switch to using only solar or wind power, we may not have enough power for everyone. Also, dams are not very good for the environment. Although they are normally better than drilling, sometimes oil is the better choice. What we need to do as a country is try to use less power everyday. One way to do this is to switch off the lights when you leave a room. Televisions also use a lot of power, so watching less TV, can actually help save energy. These are just some of the things that we can do to help save energy. It is clear that we all need to work together to solve the energy problem.


Please email me at: jennifer@ustrek.org


Links to Other Dispatches

Daphne - The 444 days Americans were held hostage in Iran
Neda - CREEP-ing around Watergate ruined President Nixon
Stephanie -The frigid blast of military might known as the Cold War