The 1973 Energy Crisis

BY: Sara Wortmann, Free Prevost, and James Rowe


Oil was an amazing energy source. People were finding it all over the world. Especially in Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia. In the United States you could get lots of gas for very cheap. Our country began to grow, and soon we didn't have enough oil to support ourselves. So we had to start importing oil from countries like Saudi Arabia. Over time we became so dependent on our oil sources, that those Middle Eastern countries virtually controlled us. When they began to realize this - that's when the problems started. Richard Nixon's adivsors told him to remove the quotas on imported oil so that we could get more of it. He refused, saying that we were already to dependent on oil. He was absolutely right. The United States was and still is to reliant on foreign oil (the 1973 energy).

During World War II, Israel was created. Fifty six percent of Israel's land was formed on the former country called Palestine. Israel's was created for a homeland for Jews. The Arabs were not happy about having the Palastine state taken over by Jews. They wanted the land back. They started the Suez-Sinai war. The Israeli military quickly defeated the Arabs. The Arabs united. The Israeli military then lanched the Six-Day War in 1967. It was very successful for Israel and the Arabs started to back away in 1973. On the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, October 6, 1973, Middle Eastern (the Arabs) forces attacked the country of Israel (Horton). When Nixon aided them with over $2 million dollars in emergency war money, this only made matters worse. Middle Eastern nations had joined together in 1960 to form OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). They wanted to "present a common front in negotiations with the giant oil companies... and retain as much more of the revenues" (Trombore). In 1973 they had realized that the oil they had gave them power. OPEC organized an oil embargo against the US, and threatened to do the same to any other Western country who also supported their enemy, Israel. They wanted to get back at countries supporting Israel. They started the embargo in October 17, 1973. That night a barrel of oil rose from $3 to $5.11. By January 1974 the price had raised to $11.65 (Trumbore). By They wanted to get Western Countries, specifically America, to demand Israel to leave Arab territories. They also jacked their oil prices up sky high, because they knew that they could. The world relied on them for oil. They were one of the largest oil producers in the world. They had the power to control the world through oil prices. They embargo came when 85% of Americans were driving to work (Trumbore). As the embargo went on, the US went into "oil shock".

The results of the embargo were shocking. Within just a few months, the price of a gallon of gas quadrupleted in price. Before the embargo a gallon of gas cost only 25 cents. After a few months of the embargo, a gallon of gas raised to $1. It was recorded that 25% of all gas stations did not have any gas for at least one week of the crisis. People often had to wait hours at a time at gas stations to get gas and might not even got any (Horton). Almost everything we had then ran on oil including cars, buses,trains, lights, heating systems,etc. There was a public effort to conserve oil and money. The United States oil comsumpution dropped 20%. Houses that were being built during this time were not made with gas heat because other heating methods were cheaper and they did not know how long the embargo was going to last. The loss of oil was followed by the stock market crash. which wasn't good for us. There were black outs, extremely long gas stations lines. Gas station owners limited the amount of gas a person could get to 10 gallons. Gas stations also closed on sundays. They also refused to sell to regulars. The government did help in the efforts to conserve gas and oil by passing new legislature. They set a 55mph speed limit on all roads including highways. To cut down electrical use they issued daylight savings time all year long. The government gave out tax credits for using alternate energy. They also created a stockpile of oil just in case all oil resources were cut off. Nixon, the current president at the time, created the Energy Department to create a national energy policy. Emergancy rationing book were printed and were used at the end at the end of the embargo. Families helped as well. Many families turned their thermostats down to 65 degrees to save electricity. People turned in huge cars for smaller ones that were more fuel efficient. Many companies started using coal as an energy source (Horton).

Luckily, soon after setting the embargo on the US, OPEC realized that they had gotten rid of their best customer. After a few negotiations, they were shipping oil to the US again. The embargo officially ended on March 18, 1974 (Trombore).They were selling the oil at a much higher price after the embargo. The energy crisis was not good for Wall Street. On January 11, 1973 before the embargo started the Dow was high at 1051. About two year later on December 6, 1974 the Dow fell to 577. This is a 45% drop. The market, in general, dropped about 15% (Trombore). This created a recession. The only people who benited were the oil companies and their stock holders. Their profits raised greatly (Trombore). Unemploment rates were very high and inflation stayed at about 10% (Horton). The high oil prices ended the economic boom the U.S. had since World War II (Events that shaped 158). Some results of the energy crisis are still around today. Oil heat got replaced by electric heat. Heating systems are now 20% more efficant than in 1973. The Trans-Alaskan pipeline was approved in congress in November, 1973. It was designed to transport two million barrels of oil to the continental U.S. every day. I was finished in 1977 (Trombore). However, we had realized the error of our ways and were trying to cut down on oil usage. Scientists worked on finding alternative energy sources. Tax refunds/cuts were offered to anyone who could find a reliable alternative energy source. Soon every American family was helping to conserve energy until we found a solution. They would turn down the heat, drive slower, and even drive fuel efficient cars.

Source Annotation

Rowe, Marnie. "The Energy Crisis." Harwich Public Schools. 24 March 2003. Web. 10 May 2011. -Free Provost
For reference:
Summary: The article was full of facts and statistics about energy and oil uses in different countries. There was also lots of dates and names of people and dates that played large roles in the energy crisis (Richard Nixon, James Akins, etc..). The author used vivid detail to describe how America became involved in the Middle Eastern wars, and how that played out for us in the end. The author also described the oil embargo and energy shortages that followed after.
Assess: The author does a great job connecting certain events like the oil embargo and the energy shortages. The author also talks about things from the American perspective, which makes the article a little bit opinionated. The paper was very well organized- starting with an introduction and moving on to causes and effects, and then finishing up with our energy uses today. The web page is pretty straightforward - there is an author and a date written. The article is organized by an outline that is at the top of the page, and there is a list of "works cited" at the bottom.
Reflect: This would be a good article to use when I need to show how the energy crisis looked from our point of view, but maybe not from the OPEC's point of view. It would also be good for explaining the basic facts about when, where, why, and how everything happened. The article is also full of important data/facts/statistics that could be useful for showing how badly we were affected by the energy crisis.

"1970's Oil Crisis." RECESSION.ORG-United States Economy & Global Economic Recession. Web. 6 May 2011. -Free Prevost
For reference: This source provides information about when the energy crisis was at it's worst. It talks about the 16 months - November 1973 to March 1975. It talks about how Middle-Eastern countries discovered their resources, which gave them a source of power. It also talks about what the government did to save oil/fuel/money during the energy crisis. Like setting lower speed limits, giving gas stations limits on how much fuel that they could sell, and developing new energy sources. It talks about the whole energy/oil crisis from beginning to end without leaving out any important details.

Assess: The page looks a little but like a Google Ad. There are ads for products and movies near the top of the page. There is no author listed, but there is a "date written" and a "date last updated". Also, there are links on the side leading to graphs, history, library, and the home page. The information is very clear and easy to understand, and there are lots of dates, quotes, and statistics used throughout the article. The article isn't really opinionated, but it does seem to sympathize with the average Americans who got hit the hardest with the energy crisis. It does tell the story from both sides, so no facts or actions are left out.
Reflect: This is a great article for someone who has no idea what the energy crisis was and wants to learn about it. It really focuses and the topic and stays there. I like that, but I think that it could have gone into further discussion about Nixon and the decisions that he made regarding the OPEC or the energy crisis. It does a great job explaining how it was all started without going into too much detail. The paragraphs are short and clear so that the reader doesn't lose interest.

Miller, James. The 1900s : Headlines in History. San Diego: Greenhaven, 2001. Print. -Free Prevost
Summary: This book, specifically the chapter "The Crisis- October 1973: Middle East Conflict, Oil, and Watergate", focuses on a specific part of the Energy Crisis. One full of scandal and war. It talks about the Middle-Eastern wars, the attack on Israel, and the Oil Embargo against all Western Countries supporting Israel. It also describes the Watergate Scandal, and Nixon's attempt to cover up a break in of the Democratic headquarters. It also brings up our oil usage today, and how we still rely on foreign oil sources for power.
Assess: This chapter of the book didn't really focus on just the Energy Crisis of 1973, but a lot of other events that went on during that time as well. Not all of the events were tied to the Energy Crisis, so the writing was a little choppy. I did like the fact that it gave a lot of information on the Middle Eastern wars, because a lot of other books and articles just give our side of the story. It also really simplifies what was going on in the Middle East, without a bunch of confusing analogies or technical terms.
Reflect: This is a great source for someone who just wants to focus on the conflict in the Middle East. It's full of information about the attacks that led to the conflict, the countries beliefs, what they did, and why they did it. There aren't any confusing terms for what happened. It's not a very good source for statistics or dates, as the site doesn't really focus on that. Its great for learning about the perspective from the Middle East's side though.

"The 1970's Energy Crisis." Alternative Energy Lifestyles. Middlebury College. Web. 10 May 2011. -James Rowe
For reference:
Summary: This website had lots of information on the background of the 1973 oil crisis which really was 1973 throughout the rest of the 1970's. It talks about how the crisis happened, lots of statistics and facts, and also the effects of the 1973 oil crisis. Towards the end of the article it also talks about new policies of the U.S. as far as how energy was used, and it also talked about renewable energy resources.
Assess: The authors (as it hints to in the article by saying our) do a good job at presenting the crisis and having support behind it. It is well organized and would allow a person who knows nothing on the subject to understand and be able to teach someone else about the topic. It does not say the authors date or many things needed to site the website though.
Reflect: This article is very beneficial for getting information and for getting an idea of how the 1973 oil crisis occurred and its affect today. It also talks about how new sources of energy are available a lot because of the crisis showing that the U.S. and other countries could not completely rely on oil.

Hakes, Jay E. "Administrator's Message." 25th Anniversary of the 1973 Oil Embargo. EIA, 7 March 2000. Web. 11 May 2011. -James Rowe
For reference:
Summary: This website talks about the impacts of the 1973 oil crisis after 25 years and how U.S. policies changed and statistics on how much of those products are being used today. It has a lot of graphs at about 30- 31. It also has a caption and small paragraph under each one of those graphs. I have found this as a very beneficial website for affects of what the 1973 oil crisis or energy crisis has done today or more recently at least.
Assess: The authors that have made this with the name of Energy Information Administration have done a good job on showing how things have changed as a result of the 1973 energy crisis which is their goal. They also made it easy for people to see the information by putting in a lot of graphs.
Reflect: This article is beneficial for seeing the effects of the 1973 energy crisis and how right after it the energy being used was less than before the energy crisis. Overall this should not be a the first source you look at to get information on the topic.

Stewart, Gail B. The 1970's. Print.-James Rowe
Summary: This book was very informational on the response of the 1973 energy crisis and of how it occured. It did not however give very many statistics. It talked about how the crisis was back then with long lines of cars wating at gas stations sometimes not even to fill up. It also talked about how temperatures had to be lowered in housing and buildings and rations were given on gas in some states. That area was where this book was helpful.
Assess: This book helped you to picture the everyday life of the struggle to get energy back then. It helped you to see the long lines of cars and how people would struggle and fight in the lines. I think it did a good job at what it was trying to accomplish.
Reflect: This book would be good for someone to get an understanding of how things were. It would help to form mental images as it did for me and to give you a inspiration to write a paper on this subject (if you get inspired to write papers). Overall it was a good source of information.

"The 1973 Energy Crisis." Europedia.moussis.ed. Web. 10 May 2011. -Sara Wortmann
For referance:
Summary: The website provided lots of information about the crisis. It talks about what caused the crisis, what happened during the crisis, as well as what happened after the crisis. It goes into very good depth on the event that caused it. It talks about what it was like to live during the era and how limited gas was during the time. It does not have any pictures or videos. It bold important things that happened during the crisis. The bolding of important things makes in easier to see and remember what the main ideas of the energy crisis were.
Assess: The information is very good and thorough. It sometimes get confusing and sometimes using big words. The information seams very correct. It matches other websites and books that I have looked at. It gives you a good big picture view of the event. It does not have a work cited. It also does not have lots of the information required for citations. It has links to events that happened around the same time of the crisis.
Reflect: This would be a good website to get facts and statistics. Its a good website to get a good big picture view. It stays on topic and would be good for someone who does not know much about the topic. It is sometimes confusing at time. It could be very helpful when I start to write the overview. It has lots of facts that I could use when I write the overview. It is an okay source.

Horton, Sarah. "The 1973 Energy Crisis." Envirothonpa. Web. 5/10/11. -Sara Wortmann
For referance:
Summary: This is a website that has a paper by Sarah Horton. It is a pdf of the paper. The paper has tons of facts and statistics. It has lots of information about what caused the event as well as what it did to the America people during and after the oil embargo. It has facts that I have not seen anywhere else. It tells what people had to do to save electricity during the time period of the crisis. It is not just a big picture view but instead a very in depth of what happen. This is one of the best websites that I have seen that has done this. Most website just give a big picture view on the energy crisis. The paper is about two pages, single spaced, long including the bibliography.
Assess: The information is extremely thorough. It also seems very real. Ir t is a paper by Sarah Horton that has internal citations and a bibliography. She used many different websites so there is lots of information. The information does not use many big words and is very easy to undersand even if you have never heard about the energy crisis before. It would be better if it had pictures and videos.
Reflect: I can see myself using this website a lot when I write the overview. It has so many facts and statistics that I have not been able to find anywhere else. This is by far the best part source I have found yet. This paper includes a bibliography where I could find other sources to find even more information. The website would be good for anyone who is interested in learning about the energy crisis.

Events that Shaped the Century. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life, 1998. Print. -Sara Wortmann
Summary: The book provides a little information about lots of events that happened in the 1900s. It only has one page on the 1973 energy crisis. It only gives a brief summary of what happened during the crisis. It gives a little information about what caused the crisis and a little information about things it caused. It talks about how gas prices were effected. It only gives one detail of what happened after the embargo ended. It talkes about OPEC. It does not have many details. It is just an overview of the crisis.
Assess: The inforation in not at all thorough. The information does match information I have found at other sources. It has some pictures related to the 1973 energy crisis which makes it good for visual learners. The information is very easy to understand. It would be better if it had more detailed information and more statistics. It does not have any statistics. I do not thing this source is that helpful unless you just want a basic overview of the crisis. It easy to understand even if you have never heard of the energy crisis.
Reflects: This book would be good if you wanted to know a little bit of information about a lot of events. This would not be a good source to write a paper from. The information is real, but it is not detailed at all. If I do use this source it will be to get very big picture details. All the information about the 1973 energy crisis I could find in other sources. This source is not very helpful. I most likely will not use this source when I right the overview because it does not have detailed information.

Reflections and Conclusions

Free Prevost- While I was researching the 1973 Energy Crisis, I learned a lot about from many different perspective. When I looked on the internet, a lot of the articles and websites were pro-American, and were very opinionated. It was hard to find sources that weren't biased on the subject. It was interesting to read from different perspectives though, some made it seem like it was our fault, and others made it seem like the Middle Eastern countries planned it from the beginning. I think that it was a little bit of both. It was our fault that we were so dependent on oil from other countries. If we didn't have enough oil to support ourselves, we should have tried to find alternative energy sources before we started importing oil like crazy. On the other hand - the Middle Eastern Countries in OPEC realized that they had control over us in the form of oil, and used it to their advantage. It's a business tactic that lots of people use today, and really shouldn't have been that shocking. Personally, I think that we should have seen it coming, but we were to wrapped up in our own economic troubles to notice.

I agree, I found that many articles were pro-America. I think it was mainly Americas fault though, they were too reliant on foreign oil. America should have seen this coming. We should have been looking for oil in our own country. If they drilled in the United States it would create jobs and they could get the oil for cheaper. There really is not that much oil in the United States though. Middle Eastern countries had the oil and they were willing to sell the oil to us before 1973. America was funding the enemy of Saudi Arabia which was asking for trouble. -Sara Wormann
Sara Wortmann: This event really suprised me. This is totally possible for it to happen again. This just shows how America is too reliant on foreign oil. If an event like this happened today the results were be horrifing. We use way more oil today than we used in 1973. America can not be this reliant on foreign oil. I think that America should be using even more alternative types of energy. The price of gas contines to increase and is eventually going to be so high that eventually everyone is either going to have to use alternative energy or people are going to have to walk to work. People are guessing that the price of gas in 2015 will be around 5-7 dollars (What do you). The lower class would not be able to pay that much for gas. The 1973 energy crisis may be forshadowing on events that may be coming in the future. Oil companies control us. This needs to be changed. The 1973 energy crisis was a very sad event in history. It shows how America is controled by oil. People should been able to see this event coming. When you become so reliant on something and you can not live without it and it gets taken away it going to be bad. America is addicted to oil.
I think that if an event like this happened today our country who fall apart. The United States is too reliant on foreign oil. What do you guys think?
James Rowe: This was an interesting topic to research and I think that the United States needs to start cutting back on nonrenewable resources. I think that other energy technologies can be used. Back in the industrial age and in other times alternative energy sources were not available but they are now so they should be used. They may be more expensive but in the long run it could save the United States from another energy crisis that may be worse than the 1973 Energy Crisis. Overall things have to change to prevent more energy crisises. Even if people would just get a more fuel efficent car by about 5 mpg it would save a lot of gas from being unneccesarily used. I think that the U.S. should become more independant and not use so much imported energy sources.

Multimedia and Comments Free Prevost
-the opening part of the movie shows the discovery of oil and how everyone wanted it. It also showed how Saudi Arabia got rich from selling all of their oil to other countries. I thought it was pretty relevant to the energy/oil crisis.
this is a glog I made about the energy crisis
-This is a photo gallery of pictures taken during the energy crisis. You can see how long lines were at gas stations. You have to watch a short commercial before you can see the photo gallery.

-This is a short video about the energy crisis. It is a video that a person in the 70s took of gas stations during the energy crisis. You will see how busy all the gas stations are.

-This is a good video. It has lots of good facts. Some of the picture are not from the 1970s because gas did not cost $4 during the oil crisis. Some of the picture are from the 1970s.

Works Cited

"1970's Oil Crisis." RECESSION.ORG - United States Economy & Global Economic Recession. Web. 6 May 2011. -Free Prevost

Events that Shaped the Century. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life, 1998. Print. -Sara Wortmann

Horton, Sarah. "The 1973 Energy Crisis." Envirothonpa. Web. 10 May 2011. -Sara Wortmann
Miller, James. The 1900s : Headlines in History. San Diego: Greenhaven, 2001. Print. -Free Prevost

Rowe, Marnie. "The Energy Crisis." Harwich Public Schools. 24 March 2003. Web. 10 May 2011. -Free Prevost

"The 1973 Energy Crisis." Europedia.moussis.ed. Web. 10 May 2011. -Sara Wortmann

Trumbore, Brian. "The Arab Oil Embargo of 1973-74. "Buy and Hold. Web. 23 May 2011. -Sara Wortmann

"What Do You Think Gasoline and Oil Prices Will Be in 2015?"GM-Volt. 22 April 2009. Web. 22 May 2011. -Sara Wortmann

Stewart, Gail B. The 1970's Print. -James Rowe

Hakes, Jay E. "Administator's Message." 25th Anniversary of the 1973 Oil Embargo. EIA, 7 March 2000. Web. 11 May 2011. -James Rowe

"The 1970's Energy Crisis." Alternative Energy Lifestyles. Middlebury College. Web. 10 May 2011. -James Rowe