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The 1970’s Gas Crunch, Interview Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1201

Interview

The Second Arab Oil Embargo was a watershed moment in American history. It led to an increase in gas prices and caused a significant economic downturn (Galbraith, Kate, and Price 56). Those alive during the early 1970s remember it as a time of great hardship. I Conducted my interview with my grandfather, who was born in 1933. He worked in an auto parts factory at the time of the embargo. I asked him to share his experiences living and working during this challenging period. “It was tough,” he said. “There were gas shortages, and people were afraid to drive. The economy was in a recession, and jobs were scarce. We had to make do with what we had.” People made tough decisions, such as moving to different regions to survive this economic phase.

Some families even moved to different parts of the country, searching for work. “It was a scary time,” he said. “But we got through it.” For those who lived through it, the experience was one they will never forget. Additionally, the embargo left a lasting impression on my grandfather about how things can change and how living situations become hard (Galbraith, Kate, and Price 56). He is more careful with his resources now, and he is always conscious of the possibility of another economic downturn. He lived at a time when the economy was favorable, but a change in policy caused by the embargo led to economic hardship for many Americans.

He admits that he and his family had to cut back on their spending. They stopped going out to eat and took fewer vacations. His work hours were reduced, so he had to find other ways to make ends meet. He ended up taking on a second job as a janitor. “It was a tough time for everyone,” he said. “But we got through it.” The oil embargo led to economic uncertainty and upheaval (Galbraith, Kate, and Price 56). It also contributed to economic uncertainty by decreasing the availability of gas, which increased prices and caused a recession. The embargo also led to a change in American foreign policy (Galbraith, Kate, and Price 59). The United States became more contingent on imported oil, and the event steered in a new eon of economic uncertainty.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis explains that the economy was in a recession during the embargo. GNP growth was negative for two quarters in 1974 (Galbraith, Kate, and Price 54). The consequences of the restraint were felt throughout the American economy, and its impact is still felt today. The United States became more reliant on imported oil, and the event ushered in a new era of economic uncertainty. For a long duration, the U.S relied on different countries, especially middle countries, to export oil to the country (Wendell 283). As a result, when the embargo occurred, the United States did not have contingent strategies to caution itself and its people from the crisis that had befallen them (Binder, Carola, and Makridis 295). Consequently, the state’s economy fell into chaos, and the country’s citizens, including my grandfather, had to bear the complex consequences of the embargo.

He told me that he started using a motorcycle to go to work because the fuel was cheaper. During this time, motorcycles were not as standard as they are today. My grandfather alleged that the restraint was a difficult time for him and his family, but they eventually recovered. He also invested in growing their food, including vegetable gardens, in reducing their reliance on store-bought food. Through this, he managed to save some money that would have been spent on fuel. He and other people used a few tactics to survive the embargo.

The embargo resulted from several factors, including the 1973 Yom Kippur War and America’s backing of Israel. In reaction to the war, Arab adherents of OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) restrained oil exportations to the U.S (Wendell 280). The embargo lasted from October 1973 to March 1974 (Binder, Carola, and Makridis 295). It caused a significant increase in gas prices and led to a decrease in the availability of oil. Oil is critical to the American economy, and the embargo had a lasting impact on the American economy. Different sectors depend on oil to execute their business model (Ediger, Volkan, and Berk 185). The oil and gas industry was booming in the early 1970s, but the embargo decreased production (Binder, Carola, and Makridis 299). This, in turn, led to changes in activities in different sectors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate rose from 4.9% in 1973 to 9% in 1975 (Wendell 280). The lives of many individuals, including my grandfather, changed during these phases. People started experiencing a change in the quality of their lives because they could not keep up with the rising economy.

The embargo led to widespread panic, as people were worried about the impact of the shortages on their everyday lives. As a result, many people hoarded gasoline and long lines at gas stations. The government intervened by implementing a rationale on gasoline, which helped reduce the panic (Ediger, Volkan, and Berk 188). The embargo led to a significant increase in gas prices, and the United States government responded by implementing a series of price controls. The government also rationed gasoline and implemented an odd-even license plate system to reduce the number of cars on the road (Wendell 280). These measures helped the government stabilize the economy and prevent a complete collapse. The embargo also decreased oil production, and the government responded by investing in alternative energy sources (Ediger, Volkan, and Berk 191). As a result, the United States is now less reliant on oil and has a more diversified energy mix. The government attempted to ensure people recovered their jobs and the economy prospered (Wendell 280). Most people, including my grandfather, recovered their jobs even though not with similar benefits as their previous jobs,  including salary, but the embargo effects continued affecting the economy.

Even though the embargo is no longer in place, its effects are still felt today. Economists view this period as a significant event that significantly impacted the American economy(Jay). The embargo led to a decrease in the availability of oil, which caused an increase in gas prices. Consequently, different sectors, especially those that entirely depended on oil, collapsed, thus retrenching their workers.

In conclusion, the Second Arab Oil Embargo was a turning point in American history. The embargo led to a significant increase in gas prices, and the United States administration retorted by implementing a succession of price controls. Additionally, it contributed to many individuals losing their jobs and facing a tough economy.

Works Cited

Binder, Carola, and Christos Makridis. “Stuck in the seventies: Gas prices and consumer sentiment.” Review of Economics and Statistics 104.2 (2022): 293-305.

Ediger, Volkan Ş., and Istemi Berk. “Geostrategic challenges in the oil and gas sectors.” Energy economy, finance, and geostrategy. Springer, Cham, 2018. 173-197.

Galbraith, Kate, and Asher Price. “3. The Oil Embargo.” The Great Texas Wind Rush. University of Texas Press, 2021. 39-61.

Gordon, Wendell. “14. The Energy-Ecology” Crisis” of the 1970s.” Institutional Economics. University of Texas Press, 2021. 276-290.

Hakes, Jay E. Energy Crises: Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Hard Choices in the 1970s. Vol. 5. University of Oklahoma Press, 2021.

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