A history of oil problems

TEXT OF STORY

LISA NAPOLI: OPEC's meeting today and more oil woes could ensue. But when we open the vault of business history, Stacey Vanek-Smith says things have been worse.


STACEY VANEK-SMITH: What led to the creation of a national maximum speed limit?And year-round daylight savings time? Here's a hint:

[ Sound of car engine ]

Both were put in place to conserve oil.

The 55-mile an hour cap was meant to stretch the gas tank and daylight savings time helped schools and businesses cut heating oil use.

It all started this week back in 1973. That's when the Arab countries in OPEC shut off the spigot to the US and much of Europe.

They were protesting Western support for Israel in the Yom Kippur war. The embargo caused a global recession and the effects on our oil-thirsty economy were drastic.

Gas prices quadrupled and many filling stations had no fuel so drivers often waited for hours to gas up.

The crisis ultimately led to the creation of the Department of Energy.

I'm Stacey Vanek-Smith.

About the author

Stacey Vanek Smith is a senior reporter for Marketplace, where she covers banking, consumer finance, housing and advertising.

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