Over a Barrel

Ready for oil shock?

A decade after the Arab oil embargo caused panic at the nation's gas pumps and sent the price of oil soaring from $3 per bbl. to more than $20, U.S. reliance on imported oil has scarcely dropped.

In late 1973, when the five-month embargo began as a direct result of the October War, oil imports totaled 36% of U.S. consumption, or 6.2 million bbl. per day; last August, imports reached 35.7%, or 5.97 million bbl. How would the nation fare today if Arab leaders deliberately turned off the tap, or if the fields were damaged, or if some other...