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National Security

Flashback to the 1970's

Oil CrisisIn 1971 the United States made changes to its monetary system and the dollar was no longer directly associated with the price of gold. Because the price of oil was attached to dollars, oil-producing nations now received less value for their product. 

In 1973, Syria and Egypt launched a sneak attack on Israel. The United States, because of a long-standing relationship with Israel agreed to resupply Israel during the conflict.  The OPEC nations were not pleased, and instituted much higher prices, reduced output and a total embargo on oil exports to America as punishment for supporting the Israelis. 

Early in 1974, gas prices in America quadrupled and supplies were running critically short. Long lines of angry motorists waited to buy fuel at stations across America, and gas rationing began. Price controls implemented by the US government had the effect of limiting prices on oil already discovered and raising prices on “undiscovered” oil, leading to domestic oil supplies being withheld from the market. 

America became painfully aware of the 10 - 15 year gap between discovery of new oil supplies and actual production from those sources.

Draconian fuel conservation measures were rushed through Congress. A national speed limit of 55 mph was adopted as part of a national program of energy conservation. Permanent daylight savings meant schoolchildren boarded buses well before dawn. The 24 hours of Daytona race was cancelled, and NASCAR reduced the distance of all races by 10 percent. In the last week of 1974, 20 percent of American gas stations had no fuel at all.

Although the embargo ended in 1975, US automobile design did not change to reflect the new emphasis on fuel conservation. Japanese car manufacturers capitalized on the need for more fuel-efficient cars, and the market share of American-produced auto sales in the US plummeted.

At that time America took a good, hard look at alternative energy. Present-day research in biofuels began with the oil embargo of the 70’s. The fuel shortage coupled with growing environmental awareness changed the way some Americans viewed energy. The government set aside funds for research and development of alternative energy and biofuels.

So we have to ask ourselves- given our collective experience and the investment in the 1970’s, why are we more dependent than ever before on foreign oil?

Isn’t it time to demand American Biofuels Now?

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