America's Inflated Gas Prices Echo The Fuel Shortages Of The 1970s

After President Biden blocked Russian oil imports, we looked back at images of the 1970s gas lines as a reminder of how foreign crises affect Americans at home.

In the 1970s, gas shortages during the OPEC crisis meant incredibly long wait times at the pump, staggered fill-up days based on license plates, and often no gas at all at some stations. As the situation with Russian troops invading Ukraine escalates and the world fears further conflict, Americans are worrying about what it means for them as stocks plummet and gas prices change. After President Joe Biden blocked Russian oil imports in new sanctions against the Kremlin, we looked back at images of the 1970s gas lines as a reminder of how international crises affect Americans at home.

Marty Lederhandler / Associated Press

Cars line up in two directions at a New York City gas station in this Dec. 23, 1973, photo.

A person with a mustache wearing a beanie reads a newspaper with the headline "Gas Rationing Set Monday"
Smith Collection / Getty Images

The gas rationing system is announced in 1973.

A sign resting against a car with the hood popped up reads "Open for Service, Sorry No Gas"
John Giannini / Sygma via Getty Images

A sign rests against a car during the gasoline shortage in New York in the 1970s.

Associated Press

Cars line up at a gas station in Martinez, California, on Sept. 21, 1973.

Near a line of cars, stand-up sign sits on the pavement at a gas station reads "Odd number plates only, last digit must be odd number"
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Motorists traveling on the Garden State Parkway got a preview of the odd/even gas rationing plan in 1970.

Harvey Georges / AP

Cars line up at a Washington, DC, service station on Dec. 1, 1973.

A sign at a Chevron station reads "due to cutbacks in gas allocations, gas will be pumped only from 7:30am to 11am"
Denver Post via Getty Images

Ron Plybon places a lock on a pump in February 1979.

A nun wearing a habit and cross necklace carries a gas pump at a station
Susan Wood / Getty Images

At a gas station's self-service island, a nun operates a pump to fill her Buick Skylark in 1975.

A person standing behind a line of cars pushes his lawnmower
Anonymous / Associated Press

Not only drivers of automobiles had to line up at this service station in San Jose, California, March 15, 1974. A man who needed a refill for his lawnmower got the same treatment.

Boston Globe via Getty Images

Cars line the streets waiting to fill up at Merit Gas in Quincy, Massachusetts, June 16, 1979.

Boston Globe via Getty Images

Ron Clancy carries a red flag and posts a "last car" sign on the car at the end of line at a Texaco in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, on June 25, 1979.

Anonymous / Associated Press

Lines of cars form as motorists wait their turn at the gas pumps in New York during the energy crisis in 1979.

Boston Globe via Getty Images

Cars line the Southeast Expressway outside an Arco station on June 15, 1979.

Bettmann Archive

A man gapes at the "out of gas" signs on the self-service pumps of a Tenneco gas station.

Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Cars lined up at a Maryland gas station in February 1974

Bettmann Archive

Even though the sign at this Mobil station on the corner of 33rd Street and First Avenue clearly indicates cars that end with "even numbers only" will be given gasoline, a car with a license ending in an odd number for its final digit fills up on June 20, 1979.

Dave Pickoff / AP

An aerial view of cars lined up for gas in New York City on June 19, 1979

Universal History Archive / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A man pumps gas at a station in July 1979.

A spray-painted sign reads "pumps closed" outside a gas station
Scott Mcpartland / Getty Images

A spray-painted sign at a Mobil station in New York City in 1979