You probably have to be a senior citizen to remember the gasoline shortages of 1979. I am, and I do. I also remember how demoralizing they were. Then as now, outside a few big cities, America was a highly car-dependent nation, and waiting in long lines, not knowing whether you would be able to fill up, was deeply disconcerting.
What caused those shortages? The precipitating event was the Iranian Revolution, which sent world oil prices soaring. But an oil price surge in itself needn’t mean gasoline shortages; it could — as we’ve seen recently — just mean higher prices at the pump.