Another Time, Another Place
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Another Time, Another Place • Posted: Jul 20, 2008 13:01:59Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

During much of the 1950's and 60's the price of gas was low by today's standards. Filling stations, early versions of today's gas stations and travel centers, often competed for business with each other by competitively lowering the price per gallon in what were termed "gas wars". Prices per gallon sometimes dipped to 17 or 18.9. Pump your own was rare but gaining in popularity. Give-aways for a fill-up were common, things such as glass tumblers. Keep coming back and you could stock your kitchen with a full set. Much desired muscle-cars got 6-8 miles per gallon. Newly designed diesel trucks spewed thick clouds of soot-filled smoke as they accelerated up through the gears. Getting stuck behind one was not a pleasant experience.

In the early 1970's, just after the oil producer's cartel OPEC formed, the price of a barrel of oil jumped nearly 4-fold. The price at the pump did too. The pumps themselves had to be replaced to accommodate now 4 digit prices. Car buyers seriously considered purchasing Japanese or European. Campaigning for the White House, Jimmy Carter vowed to implement a national energy policy that would increase our efficiency of use and wean us away from dependence on foreign oil. His policy was rational and far-sighted, but though he won the election his efforts failed to make a difference because neither businesses nor private citizens nor elected officials were willing to put in the effort to change the national economic direction. Everyone feared losing something in the short run. No one believed things could be far better in the long run.

Today, 35 years later, we face a similar nearly 3-fold increase in the price of oil. Astronomic sums of money are being sucked out of our economy and concentrated into a few foreign hands. And that money is in many instances being used to quite literally buy huge portions of our country out from under us. Will we this time see the light and make the effort to change significantly the direction of our economy for the long run? I wonder.

June 1970, La Grange