Save Gas

War Service Regulations. 1918.
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The country's task to Save Gas, and Chicago’s participation. War Service Regulations. September 5, 1918.

America east of the Mississippi observed the gasoline-less Sunday edict this week and saved somewhere near 7,000,000 gal. of gasoline. This is exclusive of the saving effected by the non-use of motor boats. Aside from the conservation of gasoline achieved through the first of the motorless Sundays, there were two chief advantages. First, it gave the country its first real knowledge of how essential the motor car has become as a means of transportation and, second, it gave motor owners and the motor industry an opportunity to show their patriotism by strict observance of the Fuel Ad ministration's request.

fuel admin sticker

Federal Fuel Administration fuel sticker.

In the territory affected by the request, there are 4.000,000 motor vehicles, of which approximately 200,000 are trucks. It is fair to assume that the remaining 3,800,000, if run on Sundays, would each use 2 gal. of gasoline. It is probable that the saving may have been even greater than this.

No definite statements are made as to how long the gasoline-less Sundays may be in force. Oil men say that the shortage of stocks in this country is equivalent to the average consumption on eleven Sundays. Whether the order will be made effective for that long probably depends on future conditions. The National Automobile Chamber of Commerce says the request of the Fuel Administration probably will be in effect for five or six Sundays.

The conservation department plans to establish oil conservation districts throughout the country, placing motor car dealers at the head of each district together with committees to be composed of newspaper men, motor club representatives, oil industry representatives, garagemen and dyers and cleaners. These committees in turn will appoint deputies for each county. Huge posters will be displayed everywhere, and all garages and oil stations will be instructed in every means of gasoline and oil conservation.

In Chicago the interpretation of the request was very strict and while there was no legal enforcement of the restriction, there were only a few scattered instances of cars operating which did not carry a card of approval issued by the State Council of Defense and showing the necessity of their use on that day.

Chicago 98 Per Cent Patriotic Aside from the police and other cars specifically exempted by the Fuel Administration's request, the only cars to operate were the motor buses, which are necessary means of public transportation and operate on a regular line. In Chicago even the taxicabs were off the streets, and in the one or two instances in which taxicabs did attempt to operate their drivers were hooted and stoned by zealous patriots and in one instance the cab was completely wrecked. The gasoline and oil filling stations were all closed and so far as it is known, not a gallon of gasoline was sold in the city.

The two large motoring organizations in tLe city, the Chicago Automobile Club and the Chicago Motor Club, took steps to make sure their members did not violate the request. The Chicago Motor Club last week telegraphed the Fuel Administration at Washington suggesting that motorless nights for three nights a week be substituted for the motorless Sunday, but Washington did not fall in with the idea.

The Chicago Automobile Trade Association finds that the local dealers are well satisfied with the order, not only because it gives the motorists a chance to show their patriotism but also because it closed up the gasoline and oil service stations and the few cut-price accessory dealers, who have not been in sympathy with the closing of Sunday sales and service rooms.

Chicago observed the request a little better than 98 per cent, according to the investigators. The boulevards and streets were practically bare of motor vehicles. Electrics and a few kerosene-burning steamers were operating, the latter carrying cards -which stated that they were not using gasoline.

save gasoline poster 1913

This poster is designed to be hung in garages, service stations, etc., throughout the country and is put out by the Fuel Administration.

save gas chicago 1913

Here are two views of Michigan avenue, Chicago, before and after the gasoline-less request. At the left it is shown during normal—not rush hour—traffic; at the right, on motorless Sunday.

blackstone michigan ave 18

Chicago's Michigan Avenue, looking north from the Blackstone, deserted and bare on a gasless Sunday.

gasless sunday chicago 1918.png

On gasless Sundays in Chicago the family nag comes into his own and the baby go-cart has the right of way on the boulevards.

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