When President Jimmy Carter addressed the nation on April 18, 1977, the U.S. was in a crisis. The Arab oil embargo of 1973 sent energy prices soaring, and four years later, the impacts were still rippling through the economy.
In his speech, President Carter called the crisis “the moral equivalent of war” and called on Americans to conserve energy. He outlined a plan to tackle the crisis, focusing on conservation, efficiency, and domestic technologies to reduce dependence on foreign oil.
President Carter signed energy legislation that created the U.S. Department of Energy, provided incentives for renewables and coal, deregulated oil and natural gas prices, and banned new power plants from using gas or oil. Some of these policies have had a lasting effect. Others drew criticism and were ultimately repealed.
So what is President Carter’s energy policy legacy? And how do the lessons of the ’70s help address energy challenges today?
This week, host Bill Loveless talks with Jay Hakes about how the energy crisis shaped Jimmy Carter’s presidency and the policies his administration enacted.
Jay is a scholar and author on U.S. energy policy. From 2000-2013 he served as the director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. He also served in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, including a stint as director of the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Jay is the author of the book Energy Crises: Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Hard Choices in the 1970s.