“In Order to Adapt the Consumption...”. The Creation of a Rationing System for Petrol in the Polish People’s Republic in the 1980s

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Andrzej Zawistowski


In post-war Poland, rationing was introduced on three occasions: right after the war in 1945, then in 1951, and at the turn of the 1980s. In 1976, rationing cards for sugar were introduced, in 1981 - for meat, fats, cereal products, cleaning products and many other goods. Fuels were the last product added to this list. This article describes the process of introducing a rationing system for petrol in the Polish People’s Republic. Though the supply system crashed as early as 1981, it took several years to organize a rationing system for petrol. Its evolution did not end until 1984. This delay was caused by the long discussions on how the system should be built. This forced the authorities to introduce a whole range of temporary solutions which limited the demand in the short run, but had no soothing effect whatsoever on the society. To the contrary - the chaos they created intensified negative tendencies (such as speculation), led to market insecurity, and increased mistrust of state regulations.


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How to Cite
Zawistowski, A. (2018). “In Order to Adapt the Consumption.”. The Creation of a Rationing System for Petrol in the Polish People’s Republic in the 1980s. Studia Historiae Oeconomicae, 35, 81-96. https://doi.org/10.2478/sho-2017-0006
Author Biography

Andrzej Zawistowski, Warsaw School of Economics, Warsaw

Andrzej Zawistowski, PhD, works at the Warsaw School of Economics Economic and Social History Department. His main interests include Poland’s modern history, with special focus on economic and social aspects. His most recently published book is: Bilety do sklepu. Handel Reglamentowany w PRL [Tickets to shops. Rationed trade in the Polish People’s Republic], PWN, Warsaw, 2017.


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