The History of Oil Crises Quiz


What year did people first manage to find commercial success by pulling crude oil out of the ground?

Edwin Drake found commercial success by drilling for oil in 1859 in Pennsylvania, making the state the first oil hot spot in the U.S.

When did the U.S. experience its first oil shock?

Just a few years after oil drilling began in earnest, extremely high demand from buyers created the country's first oil shock in the 1860s.

A cholera epidemic in this country led to an oil price spike at the end of the 19th century.

A cholera epidemic in Russia meant increasing oil prices around the world starting in 1895.

How many car registrations were there per 1,000 residents in the U.S. back in 1900?

The number of car registrations shot up from 0.1 per 1,000 residents in 1900 to 87 per 1,000 residents in 1920. This meant increased demand for oil, leading to higher prices.

True or false: The U.S. is and always has been the world's largest producer of petroleum.

The U.S. led the world in petroleum production until 1974, when the country's oil production levels were finally surpassed by the former Soviet Union.

A global boycott of this country led to oil rationing and price hikes in 1951.

After Iran's prime minister nationalized the country's oil production, countries around the world boycotted Iranian oil. This led to rationing and reduced use of planes and buses.

A battle over this body of water created severe oil shortages in the 1950s.

A battle over the Suez Canal blocked the transport of 1.5 million barrels of oil per day from 1956 to 1957, resulting in severe shortages.

How much did world oil output decline in the mid-1950s as countries battled over the Suez Canal?

Fighting around the Suez Canal and damage to pumping stations in Iran reduced total world oil output by 10 percent in the 1950s, resulting in shortages and higher prices.

What year was OPEC founded?

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, was founded at the Baghdad Conference in September 1960.

How many founding members did OPEC have?

OPEC consisted of just 5 countries — Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela — when it was founded in 1960.

What year did the Yom Kippur War take place?

Egypt and Syria launched the Yom Kippur War when they attacked Israel in October 1973. The war had far-reaching effects on world oil.

What two countries were subject to an OPEC oil embargo following the Yom Kippur War?

After the U.S. and Netherlands shipped supplies to Israel following the Yom Kippur War, OPEC instituted an oil embargo against the two nations.

How much did the price of oil increase in the first three months of the 1973 embargo?

The price of oil quadrupled from $3 to $12 per barrel in the first three months of the embargo.

When did OPEC finally lift the embargo on the U.S.?

Though OPEC only kept the embargo in place until March 1974, it had far-reaching effects on U.S. policies.

True or false: The establishment of a national speed limit in the U.S. was a direct result of the 1973-1974 oil embargo.

Both the 55 mph (89 kph) national speed limit and the implementation of fuel economy standards in the U.S. were directly inspired by the OPEC oil embargo of the 1970s.

Which country slashed its oil production by 75 percent in the mid-1980s to try to combat declining oil prices?

As oil prices slid a whopping 25 percent from 1984 to 1985, Saudi Arabia slashed production by 75 percent in an attempt to keep prices from falling any further.

What country invaded Kuwait in 1990, which led to the Gulf War?

Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, which not only led to a terrible war but also had a dramatic impact on oil markets around the world.

What percentage of world oil production came from Iraq and Kuwait when the Gulf War began?

Iraq and Kuwait were responsible for around 9 percent of oil production when the war started, so the war caused a significant supply shock around the world.

What country ramped up oil production to make up for shortages in Kuwaiti and Iraqi production during the Gulf War?

The price of oil doubled in the first few months of the Gulf War. Fortunately, Saudi Arabia was able to boost production enough to stop this rapid price increase.

How many people are there for every one passenger car in China?

While there is one car for every 1.3 people in the U.S., there is one car for every 30 people in China. This means a potentially huge increase in the demand for oil as the middle class in China grows.

How much of the oil used in the U.S. is imported?

The U.S. uses 25 percent of all oil consumed in the world, and 60 percent of that oil is imported.

What led to record-high oil prices in 2007 and 2008?

Extremely high increases in Chinese demand for oil led to record-high oil prices in 2008.

True or false: Despite ever-increasing demand, China remains a net exporter of oil thanks to vast supplies.

While China was a net exporter of oil until 1992, the country had net imports of 800,000 barrels per day by 1998.

How much oil was China importing daily by 2007, when global oil prices shot through the roof?

China was importing 3.7 million barrels of oil per day in 2007, making it the world's third-largest oil importer at the time.

What shockingly high price per barrel did oil reach in July 2008?

Oil hit an all-time high of $147 per barrel at its peak in July 2008 as demand from China exhausted world supplies and drove prices up.

How did U.S. drivers respond to the record gas prices in 2008?

U.S. drivers cut fuel consumption by 5 percent in 2008 in response to soaring gas prices.

How much of OPEC's oil output comes from Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia produces around a third of all OPEC oil, which means the nation wields tremendous power to influence world oil supplies and prices.

What percentage of U.S. oil came from fracking in 2015?

Forty-nine percent of U.S. oil, or 4.6 million barrels per day, came from fracking rather than drilling in 2015.

What percentage of global oil exports come from OPEC members?

OPEC members produce 55 percent of all oil in the world.

When do experts suggest the world will experience peak oil production?

Many experts suggest that peak oil — the highest possible levels of production — will occur by 2050. After that, the cost of oil production will drive suppliers to more lucrative energy sources, and oil use and production will decline.

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About This Quiz

Oil prices affect everything from global economics and stock markets to your wallet. Take our quiz to see how much you know about some of the biggest oil crises in the history of energy.

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