The need for a national oil storage reserve had been recognized for at least three decades. Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes advocated the stockpiling of emergency crude oil in 1944. President Harry S Truman's Minerals Policy Commission proposed a strategic oil supply in 1952. President Dwight Eisenhower suggested an oil reserve after the 1956 Suez Crisis. The Cabinet Task Force on Oil Import Control recommended a similar reserve in 1970.
But few events so dramatically underscored the need for a strategic oil reserve as the 1973-74 oil embargo. The cutoff of oil flowing into the United States from OPEC sent economic shockwaves throughout the nation. In the aftermath of the oil crises, the United States established the SPR.
The EPCA declared it to be U.S. policy to establish a reserve of petroleum, setting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) into motion, and extended the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act of 1973 (EPAA). A number of existing storage sites were acquired in 1977. Construction of the first surface facilities began in June 1977. On July 21, 1977, the first oil—approximately 412,000 barrels (65,500 m3) of Saudi Arabian light crude—was delivered to the SPR. Fill was suspended in FY 1995 to devote budget resources to refurbishing the SPR equipment and extending the life of the complex. The current SPR sites are expected to be usable until around 2025. Fill was resumed in 1999.
Part A of Title III of the EPCA established the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for automobiles. The average fuel economy for model years, 1978, 1979, and 1980 were set at 18, 19, and 20 miles per gallon, respectively, and by 1985 the average economy was required to be 27.5 mpg Furthermore, automobiles were required to be labeled with their fuel economies, estimated fuel costs, and the range of fuel economy for comparable vehicles after the 1976 model year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was given the authority to regulate fuel economies for automobiles and light trucks.
Part B of Title III of the EPCA established the Energy Conservation Program, which gives the Department of Energy the "authority to develop, revise, and implement minimum energy conservation standards for appliances and equipment." As currently implemented, the Department of Energy currently enforces test procedures and minimum standards for more than 50 products covering residential, commercial and industrial, lighting, and plumbing applications.