Out Of Gas in Portland Oregon, 1973

In 1973 and 1979, Americans had to sit and wait for their fuel.

It’s a memory of mine, passing gas stations in the Seattle area while cars were stacked out to the street and waiting in line.  Sometimes a person could only buy two, five, or ten gallons.  The national speed limit dropped from 70mph to 50, then shifted up slightly to 55 – which nearly everyone had trouble maintaining.

10 Gallon Limit

Line Up at The Pumps, 1973

Sign of the times, 1973

Because the lines were long and time consuming, some enterprising students would “hire” themselves out to sit in line for car owners, doing homework while they waited.  And McDonald’s jumped in line too:

All photos taken by David Falconer for the Environmental Protection Agency, and are in the Public Domain.

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