Gas crisis question, part II

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554
I wrote some oil companies asking whether we should consider longer OCIs, since they were claiming shortages. I never got any response from any of them. During that time I was involved in internal acquisition for a local government. We were finding a number of other supplies were being manipulated into shortages for price increases. Hey, it was the going thing there for a while....
 
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681
Location
New Jersey
I sure can't recall that there was a shortage of motor oils or much price increase during the so called gas crisis of 1973-74 or during Iran embargo crunch of the late 70's early 80's either. But lets not forget the impact of Katrina/Rita on the oil industry production since late August that caused this sharp increase in prices, reformulations, and spot shortages. Of note, is that Chevron/Texico's Orinite (sp?) plant in Belle Chase, LA (just across the river from New Orleans) was knocked off-line by Katrina for nearly a month. This plant, if I recall, is one of the largest plants they own for the production of oil and fuel(?) additives. I also understand that only Shell remains as their largest competitor for additives, and they too had problems in their Gulf operations with crude oil production and refining. And those two corporations sell additives to just about every other fuel and oil blender throughout the country, so if there is disruption in supply, there is usually a price jump. There are some major differences in the two 70's crisis and today's inconvience. We might remember too, that the first oil crisis of 1974-75 came at about the same time as the "transition" to where you were even able to buy motor oils in retail outlets other than gas stations/service stations! Hoarding motor oil wasn't so easy as it is now. In the late 60's and early 70's, and the decades before, if you wanted Texaco motor oil, Esso, Gulf, etc., you usually had to find one of their gas stations to buy it. I can remember often paying $1.50 to $2.00 a quart which was a pretty penny for those days when gas prices were about $0.30 and less a gallon! Remember too that the federal minimum wage was ONLY $0.85 to $1.25 per hour during those years! The first motor oils I can remember seeing in the general market place were sold at some auto parts houses (NAPA was one), K-Mart stores, some locally owned discount stores; and much later on, at Wal-Mart as they opened more and more stores. Incidently, Quaker State was the first major brand of motor oil I can remember being available in the general retail market by the late 60's to early 70's. If you needed an oil change most people went to a local gas station/service station to get it done! That or you paid through the nose for your oil from the gas station, or a mom and pop store, and took it home to change out. I never heard of an oil clearance sale or a discount! By today's standards this seems really strange to younger folks, but the oil cartels pretty much had things there own way for a long, long time! Many oil companies of that era and before, considered the sales and marketing of their oils as strictly a wholesale operation, since many gas/service stations were company owned or franchised operations, and they didn't like the competition from the outside under selling them! Thank goodness things finally changed! [Big Grin]
 
Messages
1,175
Location
Long Beach, CA
quote:
We might remember too, that the first oil crisis of 1974-75 came at about the same time as the "transition" to where you were even able to buy motor oils in retail outlets other than gas stations/service stations!
Seeing motor oil at The Home Depot still seems odd to me...
 
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15,081
Location
Canada
When discussing the oils shocks of the 1970's, most of the focus is on gas supply and prices, as a previous post here does... I'm wondering what happened to commercial oil during the crisis, and what people did - did bottled oil prices shoot up as much as gas did? Were there oil shortages and empty shelves? Did anyone hoard oil in this period? As with Katrina, were standards for oil 'relaxed', and people forced to live with sub-par oil? Any interesting stories/memories....?
 
Messages
1,357
Location
California, USA
When I worked for a small Shell dealer in the 1970's, we never sold much Shell motor oil. It was just too expensive from our Shell distributor. Many customers wanted Pennzoil anyway, so we bought it by the case at a local parts store. To satisfy our franchise agreement with Shell, we kept Shell oil, tires, batteries, etc. on display, but sold very little. Bulk grease and gear oil that we used was Shell. I dont remember shortages of motor oil, but the prices did creep up slowly, just like now.
 

Kestas

Staff member
Messages
13,959
Location
The Motor City
I started wrenching on cars in 1973. I don't remember any problems with buying motor oil. It was easily available at fair prices. DIY wasn't as huge back then. We bought our oil from Seears (Spectrum), Merchandise Mart, or K-Mart. Now there are plenty of chains that discount oil -- AutoZone, PepBoys, Advance Auto, Kragen/Shucks/Murrays. SaturnIonVue, I wonder if your experience was a regional phenomenon.
 
Messages
950
Location
Loveland, Ohio
I can remember buying oil from discount stores and other outlets by the case since the 60's so I too wonder if it wasn't a regional thing. In the 70's I worked in a power plant and Mobil told us that oil was on allocation, and seemed to use it as a strong motivation to continue to use them as our source because the allocation was based on our past useage. Don't recall any problems or delays in getting deliveries. We went through so much gear oil for coal pulverizers that we looked into ways to recycle it, but it wasn't practical. The oil was frequently contaminated with very fine coal dust because of the seal design, but that stuff was so thick that it wasn't feasible to filter it.
 
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