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1974: 'Long queues and fights at garages'

The 1973 Arab-Israeli war prompted an oil embargo by Opec that led to a fuel shortage and resulted in global recession.

The world suddenly realised just how dependent it was on the Middle East and OPEC for its oil.

In an attempt to save energy and reduce fuel consumption, the British and US Governments imposed strict speed limits.

Your memories:

My mother had six children and a house big enough to house us all sufficiently. In fact, she adored that house.

I often wondered why she decided to sell it and move us all into town. It wasn't until later that I learned it was because she could not afford the crude oil for running the heat.
Greta Hughes, USA

I remember joining long queues to my local petrol stations around Orpington and being linited to a gallon or two of four star. Also the papers blamed motorists for topping up their tanks.
Ian, UK

I had a Lambretta Scooter (150cc) and was so thankful for my ration book as I lived in very hilly Matlock in Derbyshire.
Alex Osbourne, UK

Oil prices went from $1.80/bbl to $11.20/bbl overnight, one day in 1974. Both unemployment and inflation rose. I asked my professor, Dr Jim Mak what happened. He said, "Supply."

That was the answer. Rising oil prices caused cost of production of goods and servicces to increase, which in turn decreased supply. The same thing happened in 1979-80.

A US state department analysis predicted in 1979 that oil prices were not sustainable above $32/bbl in the short run. Other predictions ranged from $64/bbl to $100/bbl.

In December 1985, oil prices dropped to $9.60/bbl.

Now? Deja vu all over again.
Dr George Lee, USA

Remembering the 1974 energy crisis from 30 years ago it was the first [time] I had been taught that if each person in a country does whatever they can do to save energy, the end result will be enough to make a difference.

Our home was heated with firewood so there were no heating issues whatsoever.

Years later, I discovered [news of various] people across the USA had frozen to death in their homes from lack of fuel oil to heat with.

That is about all that I can remember of that crisis, other than national speed limits being lowered to 55 mph or 88kmh.
Brian Martin, USA

You fail to mention the huge long queues for fuel, the fights in those queues and that eventually at some stations police officers were stationed to keep order.

This was my experience at garages in Newbury, Berkshire, at that time.

Plus the huge drop in values of V12 Jags and the like as people rushed to sell out and buy more economic vehicles.
Ian Hannaford, Spain

[My] main recollection is trying to keep the VW Beetle laden with self, colleagues, luggage and audit files down to 50 going from London to Peterborough, saying "s-d it" and pootling along at a bit over 50, getting dirty looks from the drivers I overtook.

And having to beg for fuel to make the journey, the standard ration being two gallons per vehicle.
Peter T, England

Whilst our country was plunged into crisis and we even squabbled with Amsterdam over the destination of oil cargos coming up the Channel, a few observers were saying that the answer to high prices is always high prices.

And so it proved: consumption was curbed in the 1970s and supply grew dramatically.
Andrew Dundas, UK

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