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Wacky fuel-saving strategies from the 1970s

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HeatingHelp
HeatingHelp Administrator Posts: 653
edited January 2023 in THE MAIN WALL
imageThat Seventies Show

People did some wacky stuff in an attempt to lower their fuel bills in the 1970s.

Read the full story here

Illinoisfarmer

Comments

  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,742
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    Excellent! I’m a mid 1960s product- I have vague memories of the 1970s energy crunch. I recall my moms Pinto and step moms Chevette. My dad was-is a dog trainer so he had a guzzling V8 to haul all the Springer Spaniels. My one year younger brother felt the pinch too in 7th grade, pulling several dozen soda cans out of the high school’s vending machine. Good times
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    gary@wilsonph.com
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,640
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    I remember that episode well. NOT fun. And then, as some of our troubles now, entirely political...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    VegasBobZmuda
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 1,180
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    My first car was my fathers blue1970 VW station wagon- great car except the heat and defrosters were dependent on the vehicles velocity on the road and it took forever to warm up in cold weather.

    I traded it up or sideways for a 1975 Ford F100 1/2 ton pick up as the VW was rusting up pretty badly. The F100 was a real dog with a straight six and 3 on the tree transmission.

    Girlfriend, now my beautiful wife of 44 years "was not impressed" when I pulled the shifter out of the tree and gave it to her going downhill at 60 miles an hour. Then the starter crapped out and then the driveline dropped out and then it started eating gas, it had lots of room though.

    I traded the F100 in for a toyota pickup and woof; the toyota was a real dog and it rusted out and loved water in the cab like there was no tomorrow.

    There was nothing like walking to the gas station with your gas can because you ran out of gas and it was the wrong day to do that of course, and your plate did not have the right number on it to buy gas.



    BobZmuda
  • RavensNester
    RavensNester Member Posts: 1
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    Back in the 1970's during the oil embargo I came up with a novel solution to heat my home. I used a VW Bug - pictured below.
    EdTheHeaterManSolid_Fuel_Man
  • mark schofield
    mark schofield Member Posts: 153
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    I remember the J C Whitney catalogue and all the fuel saving gadgets for your car.
    EdTheHeaterManCLambmattmia2PC7060
  • flat_twin
    flat_twin Member Posts: 353
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    I was working part time after school at a local gas station in the mid 1970's. I remember it being a big deal when gas climbed to 50 cents per gallon. It cost about $5 to fill my beetle.

    I recall kerosene heaters becoming very popular during the 70's. Kerosun was the big seller but there were many brands of Japanese kerosene heaters. If the wicks weren't cleaned routinely or the flame wasn't set correctly, the room would fill with black soot.

    Our house had a coal fired furnace. It was auto fed but the hopper had to be filled every day. I remember mom covering all the vents with wet towels the first time the furnace was turned on each heating season to prevent black dust from covering everything in the house.


    EdTheHeaterMan
  • Adk1guy
    Adk1guy Member Posts: 68
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    When they told us gas could possibly go to over a dollar per gallon it seemed bizarre. The mechanical gas pump registers at the them didn't go up that high. Some would price the gas at half and have you pay double. They started putting new registers in the old pumps and crudely cut another square hole to display dollars. I preferred to drive my Norton Commando motor cycle that got 44 miles per gallon.
    Robert O'Brien
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,547
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    Scams abounded as well. Magnets that clamped around copper oil lines, they " got the molecules lined up so they could exit the nozzle in an orderly, efficient fashion" "Pyramid power" was a thing also
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    mattmia2
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,835
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    LOL I remember a devise that someone in my area was selling on all the commercial oil burner jobs. It was a tank filled like halfway with water that sat under the burner. This tank was shaped like a pyramid with two little hoses that connected it to the burner air intake. I can't remember the name, but they all went in the trash a few years later Don't remember what it was supposed to do had no moving parts.
    Robert O'Brien
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 930
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    I remember those days as if I lived them. Actually I did live them. I can't believe that all you guys know my history. Also, I was able to buy gasoline for 19.9 cents/gallon. I even remember the "ice man" bringing ice for the upstairs ladies refrigerator and that our apartment had only 1 fused electrical circuit. Wow, thanks for allowing me to remember just how old I am . You guys are the greatest.
    EdTheHeaterManTonKa
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 515
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    I remember the J C Whitney catalogue and all the fuel saving gadgets for your car.

    Each of them saving 15% off your fuel cost. All you had to do was buy 6 of them and you could save 90% in fuel costs..
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,640
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    Us old folks have lots to remember, @retiredguy ! I worked (after my day job) for awhile as a pump jockey and sometime mechanic at a gas station outside St. Louis on old Rt. 66 back in the early sixties -- we sold gas as low as 9.9 cents per gallon from time to time. Usually 19.9, though. And you got your windshield washed and oil checked and tire pressures measured...

    The early '70s were a horrible time for cars, or at least engines. Some of the smaller ones -- like your Ford, @leonz , (and my '70 Chevy truck -- which I still have) weren't' too badly hammered, but the changes made to higher output engines to comply with the then brand new smog reduction regulations killed both power and gas mileage, and made them a horrible mess to work on. The regs were way ahead of the technology.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,166
    edited January 2023
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    A retired contractor from Cape May County, New Jersey wrote:

    I remember that. My brother has since passed away and I now have that photo somewhere.
    I got married in the 1970s and I also remember pumping gas in Cape May County when there was those long gas station lines. We were one of the few gas stations that were able to get fuel deliveries from the refineries while others gas stations were rationed.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,547
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    LOL I remember a devise that someone in my area was selling on all the commercial oil burner jobs. It was a tank filled like halfway with water that sat under the burner. This tank was shaped like a pyramid with two little hoses that connected it to the burner air intake. I can't remember the name, but they all went in the trash a few years later Don't remember what it was supposed to do had no moving parts.

    That's the pyramid, they put some motor oil in so the water wouldn't evaporate
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    Those butterfly looking vent dampers that you put into flue piping. The heat when a burner fired would warp and open them. Most times :)
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    mattmia2
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,835
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    Stack Pack was a CI vent damper that was supposed to be better than some of the others. Flair? I seem to recall that name as well.

    @Robert O'Brien

    Do you remember the name of those pyramid thingy's?
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,949
    edited January 2023
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    hot_rod said:

    Those butterfly looking vent dampers that you put into flue piping. The heat when a burner fired would warp and open them. Most times :)

    I removed one of those installed in about 1986 from my mom's furnace. It took a liner and upsizing the vent after it connected to the furnace to get it to draft somewhat properly though.

    Although 12 year old me said it seemed like a good idea in 1986 when the contractor asked about it.
    reggi
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,105
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    I missed out being here when the gas shortages happened.

    I was still in the USAF Security Service at my listening post in the Med.
    Was on a R&D rack that had the ability to print out most teletype signals.

    We could read your telegrams and listen to most phone calls in Europe that were not land line.

    One telegram I distinctly recall, in 1974, was from an oil tanker sitting off shore on the east coast of the USA.
    The gist of the message was: "we have been out here for days/weeks and when can we come into port and unload".

    This of course was classified at the time, even our mission was to never to be spoken of, but that ship has sailed and it is common knowledge now.

    BTW, I never took any classified documents home.....IIRC. o:)
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,640
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    I had left The Firm for other things by that time, @JUGHNE , but you never can really come in from the cold, can you?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    JUGHNE
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 1,180
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    Gotta love the Official Secrets Act; my father was saddled with that too.
  • StevenGrening
    StevenGrening Member Posts: 6
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    I was 8 years old in October 1973, when the OPEC oil embargo hit the USA. Recall sitting in long lines at gas stations to fill my my Dad's thirsty Chrysler Newport land yacht. He installed a "solar water heater" at our house, 40 gallon steel tank painted flat black and enclosed in a wood framed box with glass cover, piped out through a basement window. I had luke warm showers when the sun was out, cold showers on cloudy days. I also recall a new 12 story - 200 apt. elderly housing high-rise was breaking ground, and they installed 100% electric baseboard heat, as the news kept telling us we would run out of fossil fuels, being at the mercy of OPEC. I would have liked to have seen the electric meter spinning on that building.
    MikeAmann