What’s changed since 1973 OPEC oil embargo? - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

What’s changed since 1973 OPEC oil embargo?

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Forty years ago this week, the OPEC oil embargo made the United States acutely aware of its dependence on foreign energy.

On October 16, 1973, OPEC voted to cut its petroleum exports and raise its prices. The embargo was aimed at punishing the U.S. for aiding Israel in a Mideast military conflict.

"Oil prices went up to the lofty sum of $12 a barrel," said Jim Krane, an energy expert with Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. "You know, that was almost quadruple what we were paying before that."

Motorists endured long lines at the pumps. Gas rationing imposed limits of ten gallons per customer.

Since then, the U.S. has become more energy efficient. And the rise of coal, nuclear power and alternative fuels means oil is no longer America's primary energy source.

"It sort of evolved after that into lesser importance, becoming mainly just a transportation fuel," said Krane.

The OPEC embargo lasted five months.

Today, new technology has allowed the U.S. to unlock some of its hidden hydrocarbons, and domestic energy production is booming.

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