1973 Arab oil embargo had lasting policy effect

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: October 28, 2013

Why are we better prepared? Domestic energy production has mushroomed. Hydraulic fracturing was extant in 1973 (even much earlier, actually) but its recent usage, combined with newer drilling technologies, has opened vast reserves.

Saudi Arabia is our second-biggest supplier because of choice, not because we have no choice. Obama administration energy policies run counter to the notion that never again should this country put itself in the position of being blackmailed by a foreign supplier half a world away. In 1973, when Libya, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members stopped oil shipments to the U.S., oil prices tripled. Lines formed at gas stations. Stations had limited hours and often ran out of gas. Even the clock was affected: Year-round daylight-saving time was imposed.

The United States remains vulnerable to supply disruptions, but these mostly translate to temporary higher prices rather than wholesale policy changes. For the Obama administration, supply concerns are of far less interest than climate change. The war on coal is raging and spreading to natural gas. Oil is tolerated, but only just.

Six years after the embargo, Carter had solar panels installed on the White House roof. Climate change wasn't among the reasons. The double nickel speed limit, imposed by states under threat of losing federal highway funds, lingered in some form until 1995. By some estimates, the lower limit reduced fuel consumption by only 1 percent or less.

Rocker Sammy Hagar sang the sentiments of a nation when he crooned, “Write me up for 125/Post my face, wanted dead or alive/Take my license, all that jive/I can't drive 55.”

No thanks to Obama administration energy policy, we no longer have to.

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