Back then, America's economy was over-reliant on oil. Now, its dependent on an electric grid that needs to be modernized.
No one who lived through the first OPEC oil embargo of the early 1970s can forget the shock of that era. The United States seemed helpless economically. And Americans realized just how dependent they had become on oil from the Middle East.
Taking a page from Richard Nixon, New Jersey Gov. Christie imposed gas rationing on 12 of the state's 21 counties, effective noon Saturday.
But for all the similarities, this isn't a replay of the 1970s. The challenge then was a long-term shortage of oil. Today, it's a temporary shortage of electricity.
If there is a shock to the regional crisis that now engulfs the Northeast, it's our increasing reliance on electricity. The digital age is great, but it blinks out in an instant when the power goes down and it depends on an electrical grid that's a 20th century throwback.
That's not to say the electric grid has evolved and modernized, but it's based on a centralized model that looks out of place in our distributed Internet age.