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The Oil Industry and It's Role to the Nation

This resulted in an increase in smaller, lighter cars that superseded the previous "gas guzzlers" that populated the American highways. This also gave increased market opportunities to Japanese automakers who already produced smaller cars that were more fuel efficient than American cars.

Other policy changes that resulted as a consequence of oil price shocks were investment credits for research into alternative fuels and alternative methods for creating fuel.

1e. The oil producing countries in the Middle East are a remarkably politically unstable lot. Iran, once heralded as an island of stability, suffered first internal revolution and then extended external war. Iraq is an aggressor nation that is in economic turmoil. Saudi Arabia outwardly appears stable, and offers a controlling influence over OPEC, but its internal strife is noted in the occasional protests that flood its streets. Kuwait, once regarded as a calm voice in the region, was demonstrated to be vulnerable to outside intervention when Iraq successfully invaded its borders in action that led to the recent Gulf War. Oil remains the single most important resource to the region, however, regardless of the political unrest.

2a. Electrical utility companies are generally publicly owned and highly regulated monopolies that grew out of the large expense of producing electricity. Large monopolies could rely on a fixed client base and offer reasonable rates with the help of government regulation that limited entry into the market and essentially protected the monopolies. However, technological innovations have created a competitive market where excess capacity is sold to other electrical utility companies and where competition becomes a welcome introduction to the industry as a whole.

Historically, because their rates are controlled by the government and because they enjoyed protection from competition, utility companies have paid high dividends relative to their s...

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