In Panic at the Pump, Meg Jacobs shows how a succession of crises beginning with the 1973 Arab oil embargo prompted American politicians to seek energy independence, and how their failure to do so shaped the world we live in. When the crisis hit, the Democratic Party was divided, with older New Deal liberals who prized access to affordable energy squaring off against young environmentalists who pushed for conservation. Meanwhile, conservative Republicans challenged both kinds of governmental activism and argued that there would be no energy crisis if the government got out of the way and let the market work. Panic at the Pump is the first full exploration of this crisis that plagued the period and had lasting consequences.
Meg Jacobs currently teaches history and public affairs at Princeton University after having taught for 15 years at MIT. She is the author of Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s. Her earlier work focused on the 1930s and 40s for which she received a prize from the organization of American historians for the best book on modern American politics.