Rationing in the US during WW2

Discussion in 'USA' started by Franek, May 14, 2008.

  1. Franek

    Franek WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Civilian rationing in the US
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    During the 1973 oil crisis, coupons for gasoline rationing were printed, but never used.

    Rationing is often instituted during wartime for civilians as well. For example, each person may be given "ration coupons" allowing him or her to purchase a certain amount of a product each month. Rationing often includes food and other necessities for which there is a shortage, including materials needed for the war effort such as rubber tires, leather shoes, clothing and gasoline. Towards the end of the First World War, panic buying in the United Kingdom prompted rationing of first sugar, then meat, for the rest of the war. During World War II rationing existed in many countries including the United Kingdom and the United States. A gasoline rationing system was put in place in the United States. Gasoline shortages were especially acute in the Eastern states, because in the early Forties, most petroleum was carried by tanker. This conveyance became dangerous with U-Boats operating off the US coast. Accordingly, until the Big Inch and Little Big Inch pipelines started pumping petroleum from East Texas to the northeast states, gas supplies in the East were tight. A national speed limit of 35 miles per hour was imposed to save fuel and tires. Depending on need, civilians were issued one of a number of different classifications of gas cards, entitling them to different quantities of gasoline each week. When purchasing gas, one had to present a gas card along with a ration book. Coupons were made valid for only a set period, to forestall hoarding.
    To get a classification and rationing stamps, one had to appear before a local board to certify a need for gas and ownership of no more than five tires. All tires in excess of five per driver were confiscated by the government, because of rubber shortages. An A card was the lowest priority of gas rationing and entitled the holder to 3 to 4 gallons of gas per week. B cards were issued to workers in the military industry, entitling their holder up to 8 gallons of gas per week. C cards were granted to persons deemed very essential to the war effort, such as doctors. T rations were made available for truckers. Lastly, X cards entitled the holder to unlimited supplies and were the highest priority in the system. Ministers of Religion, police, volunteer firemen, and civil defense workers fell within this category. A scandal erupted when 200 Congressmen received these cards.
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Tell us how rationing affected you and your family, franek.
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I didn't think rationing had much impact on the USA.
    Not compared to Britian anyway.
    Maybe I'm wrong.
  4. Franek

    Franek WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Rationing never did bother us.If we wanted to go shopping. We walked. You never saw too many fat people in those days. You have to remember that America was just coming out of the great depression. Money was tight. I come from a family of Polish immigrants. We all grouped together .Before the war my Dad made $11.00 a week. But it went far. There were but a few automobles.Food was cheap. My Mom could make food out of sawdust. Nobody never complained.

    JEFF: I found that missing in action telegram from the War Department.I also found others telling my Mom that I was back under military control again.Plus others advising her of my physical progress from my wounds. As soon as I put them all together. I will post them under Remagan
  5. Franek

    Franek WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

  6. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    I understand about rationing. I was just interested in how it affected your family. Y'all were in Florida, correct, near Orlando?

    My grandparents said rationing was nuisance that had to be planned for. Their biggest problem was getting tires and gasoline. They farmed so food was never a problem.
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    JEFF: I found that missing in action telegram from the War Department.I also found others telling my Mom that I was back under military control again.Plus others advising her of my physical progress from my wounds. As soon as I put them all together. I will post them under Remagan

    Okay. Sounds good, hope to see them soon. Reminds me I need to post the telegram I rescued from the garbage can from my wife's grandfather saying that he was coming home.
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Didn't you say you grew up in Baltimore?
  9. Franek

    Franek WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Yes Owen. I lived there most of my life. I retired in 1960 and moved to Florida. I learned a lot about fishing and navigation. I took a US Coast guard test. I passed. I bought a 36 ft Bertram with twin diesels and became a deep sea Captain. I charted out for off shore fishing. Again. Life was good for me
  10. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    I asked my mom how rationing affected their daily life. She said that it was no different during the war for them than it was during the depression. They were so poor that they never noticed the difference. Since they lived on a farm in rural south Louisiana, they walked to the store, school and everywhere else. Pawpaw plowed the fields (they grew cotten) with horse drawn implements. All the kids worked with Grammaw in the garden and with the chickens and pigs. Later on after the war, they got a tractor. They didn't get a pick-up truck or electricity until some time around the Korean War, and when the phone company figured out where they were in the early 60s, it was a party-line up until 1970 or so.

    My dad's experience was a little different. Food was not a problem since they lived on a farm too. Grandpaw worked in the munitions factory, so their gas and tire rationing was not a strict as it was with most everyone else. Life was better for them than it was during the depression. They had electricity and a phone. The bathroom was still outside though.
  11. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Mrs. J.A. Tiedt sat down at a table across from a high school teacher in Culver, Indiana, 75 years ago this month and became the first person in her town to receive a book of sugar ration stamps.

    It was May 1942 and World War II was raging across Europe. Sugar was the first food staple rationed by the U.S. government during the war.

    Sugar Rationing's 75th Anniversary Highlights New Threat - American Sugar Alliance
    Dave55 likes this.
  12. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    They didn't issue the coupons but they did start even-odd gas rationing. You could only buy gas on even calendar days if your license plate ended in an even number. I couldn't make it home from college on a single tank so the trick was to team up with someone with an alternate number plate and siphon from each other as required. My buddy had a huge old Mercury wagon with a 390. Very thirsty, especially when loaded with six or eight college kids and their luggage.
    Grasmere, morrisc8 and CL1 like this.

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