By “gas wars” I assume you mean an energy crisis that manifested itself in retail gasoline shortages that were keenly felt by the average consumer. The last large-scale shortage that had such an effect was the energy crisis of 1979, whose nominal cause was uncertainty over the availability of Iranian oil in the wake of the February 1979 Iranian Revolution that toppled the pro-U.S. Shah of Iran from power. However, the crisis hit home in America as a result of the deregulation of price controls on domestic oil by the Carter Administration which caused further fluctuations in the supply of oil. While 1979 was the last time we saw the classic miles-long line-ups at gas stations, significant shocks in the price of oil occurred in the fall of 1990, following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and the summer of 2005 when several U.S. refineries were affected by Hurricane Katrina. Both events triggered significant price competition among gasoline retailers, though shortages such as those that occurred in 1979 were not seen.
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