In retaliation for Western support of Israel during the Arab-Israeli war, the Arab-dominated Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), supplier of 70 percent of the world’s oil supply, cuts off its oil exports to many nations, including the United States. The embargo causes prices of oil and other petroleum products to skyrocket, and the United States is faced with a severe energy shortage. As one conservation measure, a nationwide 55-m.p.h. speed limit is established (but later repealed in 1995).
The embargo, which ends a year later, encourages environmental awareness and energy conservation throughout the world, and new technologies are explored, including solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear power.