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December 27, 1941 – USA begins WWII tire rationing

The United States Federal Office of Price Administration (OPA) began its first rationing program to support WWII efforts on this day in 1941, limiting the number of tires any automobile driver could own to five. This included the existing tires on any vehicle already owned by a driver. Originally designed as a consumer protection agency to stabilize prices and rents to prevent unwarranted increases, the OPA shifted its mission to limiting purchases of certain goods once WWII broke out. Aside from tires, this included the rationing of cars, metal, typewriters, bicycles and food, among other items.

Essential drivers could apply for a certificate to purchase new tires through an OPA program. Vehicles deemed as essential included transport trucks for foods or fuels, public transportation, doctors, and safety and sanitary vehicles. After the war ended on both fronts, tire rationing in the US continued until December 31, 1945. Though new cars had started rolling off the assembly line the previous July.

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