On October 17, 1973, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a group of the world’s 12 leading oil-exporting nations, decided to reduce the amount of oil available to the United States. This “oil weapon” was used in response to U.S. assistance to Israel during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war (also called the Yom Kippur War).

In one year, the price of oil in the U.S. increased fourfold, largely due to the embargo. Gasoline was rationed and drivers faced long lines at gas stations. In an attempt to conserve energy, year-round daylight savings time was implemented for 1974. Homes and businesses reduced energy use by turning off unused machines and turning out lights. The embargo caused a surge of interest in solar power, wind power, and other alternative energy sources.

In 1974, OPEC announced the end of the embargo, and oil consumption in the United States went back up.

conserve
Verb

to save or use wisely.

consumption
Noun

process of using goods and services.

daylight savings
Noun

practice of moving one hour forward in the spring (spring forward) and one hour backward in the fall (fall back) to gain an extra hour of daylight.

embargo
Noun

to outlaw trade of a certain good or service, or to outlaw trade from a certain place.

energy
Noun

capacity to do work.

gasoline
Noun

liquid mixture made from oil and used to run many motor vehicles.

implement
Verb

to carry out plans.

Noun

political unit made of people who share a common territory.

oil
Noun

fossil fuel formed from the remains of marine plants and animals. Also known as petroleum or crude oil.

OPEC
Noun

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. As of winter 2018, OPEC members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

ration
Verb

to supply people with a fixed amount of food or another good or service.

reduce
Verb

to lower or lessen.

solar power
Noun

rate of producing, transferring, or using solar energy.

wind power
Noun

rate of producing, transferring, or using wind energy, usually measured in watts.

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