Most everyone knows of the rationing that took place during World War II, but did you know that because the military needed so many typewriters for communication, even they were rationed? (Ration Orders No. 4 & 4a)
Did you know that gasoline rationing was not originally so much to save fuel, but to save tires and the rubber they were made of? Our government wanted us to drive slower, (a nationwide speed limit of 35 miles per hour was also enforced) and they also wanted us to drive far less miles than we were accustomed to, which was accomplished through gas rationing, so we would use less rubber.
Most of the world’s supply of natural rubber came from plantations in Southeast Asia, which were quickly occupied by the Japanese in early 1942. Our factories needed all of the rubber they could get for military production. As an example, a single bomber required over 1,800 lbs of rubber to build.
So the reason for rationing was two-fold. First and foremost, we needed our military to be successful and to be given everything they needed to win the war. It was also a way of giving Americans on the homefront their fair share.
Because the war with Japan cut off US imports, sugar was actually the first food to be rationed, early in 1942. Sugar could not legally be bought without ration stamps, and the rationing continued until sugar supplies returned to normal in 1947.
You can learn more about war-time rationing, with photos HERE.