On October 17, 1973, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries instituted an oil embargo against countries supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur War, launching the United States into a fuel crisis. The nation’s oil capital was not immune. Following government price controls and rationing, many Houston stations closed and drivers waited in long lines for a 10-gallon sip of gasoline from pumps that were open.
The nation’s dependence on foreign oil has grown considerably since then. In 1973, the United States was pumping out 9.2 million barrels of oil per day, an enviable 2.7 million more than it does today, in the midst of an oil boom. And the nation imported just 3.3 million barrels per day in 1973, about 5.3 million less than it does today.
Better yet, gasoline cost less than 40 cents per gallon then, the equivalent of about $2.10 today.