The 1970s was the decade of disco and disasters. While the government was trying to recover from years of war in Vietnam and from the Watergate scandal, the automotive industry was burdened with new and tighter emission and safety regulations.
In 1972, heavy rainfall from Hurricane Agnes drenched the state, peaking at nineteen inches, and flooding homes and businesses. Harrisburg was hit particularly hard, and the PAA building was devastated by flood waters. PAA had five feet of water on its first floor, causing a $150,000 loss in furniture, equipment and building re-furbishing expense.
PAA Mini Groups, member groups of dealers organized by franchise, like the NADA 20 Group program, began in the 1970s. PAA Mini Groups hosted seminars and exhibitions that were made available to dealers throughout Pennsylvania. The groups traveled to resort destinations around the world, introducing dealers to industry speakers and providing opportunities for camaraderie.
n 1973, the energy crisis negatively impacted car sales. In the frenzied months after the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries embargo was announced, the price of oil shot from $3 per barrel to $12. After decades of abundant supply and growing consumption, Americans now faced price hikes and fuel shortages, causing lines to form at gasoline stations around the country. Local, state and national leaders called for measures to conserve energy, asking gas stations to close on Sundays and homeowners to refrain from putting up holiday lights on their houses. In addition to causing major problems in the lives of consumers, the energy crisis was a huge blow to the automotive industry, which had for decades turned out bigger and bigger cars and was now being outpaced by Japanese manufacturers producing smaller and more fuel-efficient models.
The first Pennsylvania Truck Convention was held in 1974. PAA had 153 truck members who benefited from the services PAA provided. In 1975, they formed their own Board of Directors within PAA. The formation of Pennsylvania Truck Dealers (PTD) provided these dealers a larger forum for discussion and allowed PAA to focus on this highly specialized segment of PAA’s membership and the issues that matter most to them. PTD remains the largest state group of truck dealers.