Fuel prices and lines at the pump are a constant concern.
But how about gas rationing and a national speed limit of 35 mph?
While fuel rationing and high inflation of the 1970s created longlines and short tempers at gas stations across the U.S., consumers once experienced a far more challenging time at the pumps.
During World War II, gas rationing was enforced across the U.S. along with a national speed limit of 35 mph dubbed Victory Speed, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
It wasn’t a gas shortage that led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to lower the speed limit and issue ration cards across the country. It was tires, or more precisely, the rubber they contained.
After the U.S. entered the war following the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, Asian rubber imports were drastically cut and synthetic rubber plants in the U.S. were in short supply, wired.com reports.
A rubber shortage couldn’t have come at a worse time, especially when the U.S. military now needed all the tires it could get for planes, trucks, Jeeps, other vehicles, trailers and mobile artillery.
Roosevelt promoted the idea of gas rationing in the U.S. to reduce non-essential driving, which would in turn, reduce tire consumption.
While Congress balked at the idea of gas rationing over concerns of consumer and business backlash, Roosevelt issued an executive order that resulted in millions of categorized ration cards.
Class A drivers: Three gallons of gas per week.
Class B: Factory workers and traveling salesmen, eight gallons per week.
Class C: Essential war workers, such as police, doctors and postal carriers, no limit.
Class T: Truck drivers, no limit.
Class X: Politicians and other “important people,” no limit.
Getting by on three gallons a week would be very tough even with today’s fuel-sipping vehicles.
Congress and the president were constantly badgered about fuel rationing, which lasted throughout the war. The controversial order was coupled with well-publicized tire recycling drives.