Sunday 25th November 1973
In response to the 1973 oil crisis, President Richard M. Nixon called for a Sunday ban on the sale of gasoline to consumers. The proposal was part of a larger plan announced by Nixon earlier in the month to achieve energy self-sufficiency in the United States by 1980. The 1973 oil crisis began in mid-October, when eleven Arab oil producers increased oil prices and cut back production in response to the support of the United States and other nations for Israel in the Yom Kippur War. Almost overnight, gasoline prices quadrupled, and the US economy, especially its automakers, suffered greatly as a result. The Sunday gasoline ban lasted until the crisis was resolved in March of the next year, but other government legislation, such as the imposing of a national speed limit of 55 mph (88.5 km/h) , was extended indefinitely. Experts maintained that the reduction of speed on America’s highways would prevent an estimated 9000 traffic fatalities per year. Although many motorists resented the new legislation, one long-lasting benefit for impatient travellers was the ability to make right turns at a red light, a change that the authorities estimated would conserve a significant amount of gasoline. In 1995, the national 55 mph speed limit was repealed, and legislation relating to highway speeds now is in state hands.