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Detroit Auto Show 2011: Milestones in the Auto Industry

Photo: AP

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1970's Energy Crisis

In 1973, OPEC proclaimed an oil embargo on the US for its decision to resupply the Israeli military during the Yom Kippur war. The embargo lasted until March 1974, but during this time oil prices quadrupled. To control supply, the Federal government under President Nixon rationed oil, by state, to 1972 levels. By February 1974 it was estimated by the American Automobile Association that 20 percent of gas stations had no fuel to sell.

The decade's second energy crisis was in 1979, in the wake of the Iranian Revolution where production was greatly decreased and exports suspended. Nixon's gasoline price controls were repealed but oil prices rose to their highest real price until 2008.

During the 1970's energy price turmoil, Japanese automakers like Toyota, Nissan and Honda started to gain popularity with American consumers, who were looking for smaller, fuel-efficient cars. U.S. automakers responded to the competition by building smaller vehicles.

Photo: AP