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#1
Old 07-06-2007, 02:51 PM
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Gas Rationing During World War II (Real Purpose)

I was watching one of them old movies from the 1940s and they had the subject of gas rationing. Of course everyone in the movie was very patriotic.

I asked some older gentlemen that always gather in the park about how it worked. The indicated to me that there was plenty of gas during World War II and it was propaganda.

One of the men said "the real reason" for the gas rationing was to save rubber NOT to save gas. He said "there was always plenty of gasoline."

First of all is this true and if so didn't we have synthetic rubber then?

Thanks
#2
Old 07-06-2007, 03:00 PM
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No cite but from what i have heard it is true. I believe they had a "Victory Speed" posted on roads, that was bassicly a speed limit designed to save rubber, as well as i am sure save gas.
#3
Old 07-06-2007, 03:04 PM
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It was a roundabout method of rationing rubber: cite.

ETA: ha ha! My first first!

Last edited by redtail23; 07-06-2007 at 03:06 PM. Reason: to gloat
#4
Old 07-06-2007, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redtail23
It was a roundabout method of rationing rubber: cite.

ETA: ha ha! My first first!
You have to get up pretty early to get the jump on Cecil.
#5
Old 07-07-2007, 07:00 AM
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There's a lame joke from the time period, which wouldn't make sense unless you understood gas rationing, ration stickers, and tires, etc. It goes something like this: A man and his wife are on a road trip in rural Maine during the war and get turned around/lost in the sticks, and getting low on fuel. Finally they pull into a remote service station. They ask for 5 gallons and hand their ration card to the attendant. "What's this?" he asks. "Our ration card, of course." "Ration card!? For what?"

"You know, the War." "What war?" "You know, Adolf Hitler.." "Who is Adolf Hitler?"

"Never mind that, just fill 'er up, and we need 4 new tires..."
#6
Old 07-07-2007, 10:50 AM
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There were different stamps for different amounts of gas that you were permitted to buy, and a select few job categories were allowed unlimited purchases. My mother told me about a cartoon that appeared during the war, which showed a road with only two cars on it, and the motorists greeting each other, with the caption: "Hi doc" and "How you doing, reverend?"
#7
Old 07-07-2007, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redtail23
It was a roundabout method of rationing rubber: cite.

ETA: ha ha! My first first!
Right, and to save on transportation resources in general. This was well known at the time and publicly stated.
#8
Old 07-07-2007, 04:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitetho
There were different stamps for different amounts of gas that you were permitted to buy, and a select few job categories were allowed unlimited purchases. My mother told me about a cartoon that appeared during the war, which showed a road with only two cars on it, and the motorists greeting each other, with the caption: "Hi doc" and "How you doing, reverend?"
My great-grandfather had one of those unlimited gas ration cards simply because he was the chairman of the county Republican party.
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Last edited by alphaboi867; 07-07-2007 at 04:52 PM.
#9
Old 07-07-2007, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rediff
didn't we have synthetic rubber then?
The problem was producing a synthetic with properties good enough to use for tires, which have to take a lot of punishment. And then there was the problem of having enough production capacity in the middle of a war, where not only was the military demand bottomless but resources to build and expand plant had to be allocated. So there was synthetic rubber but it was still in short enough supply that civilian rationing was indispensable.
#10
Old 07-08-2007, 10:05 AM
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Has anyone else seen Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs in which
Quote:
The rich, wicked queen then appears, depicted as a "food hoarder", with a large repository of items that were on ration during World War II: rubber, sugar, gin ("Eli Whitney's Cotton Gin" brand) and more.
Due to its racist content, it's seldom seen. I saw it about 20 years ago at a special theater exhibition of rarely seen Warner Bros cartoons.
#11
Old 07-08-2007, 03:13 PM
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My father said that during WWII, he and other members of his family would take the farm's tractor into town to buy things since the tractor was exempt from gas rationing. He said he did not take out any girls on dates using the tractor however.
#12
Old 07-08-2007, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobT
He said he did not take out any girls on dates using the tractor however.
Really? Seems to me that would make plowing much easier.
#13
Old 07-08-2007, 04:10 PM
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We did have plenty of gas, too. With half today's population living mostly pre-suburban lifestyles, we produced more petroleum domestically than we needed.
#14
Old 07-08-2007, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitetho
There were different stamps for different amounts of gas that you were permitted to buy, and a select few job categories were allowed unlimited purchases. My mother told me about a cartoon that appeared during the war, which showed a road with only two cars on it, and the motorists greeting each other, with the caption: "Hi doc" and "How you doing, reverend?"
I dunno about unlimited, but both my grandfathers (one a cigar salesman, the other a newspaper editor) were entitled to elevated gas rations.
#15
Old 07-08-2007, 05:54 PM
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Er, so, stupid question: Why did they need to conserve rubber? What military gear requires copious quantities of rubber?
#16
Old 07-08-2007, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaChick
Er, so, stupid question: Why did they need to conserve rubber? What military gear requires copious quantities of rubber?
Tires for trucks, aircraft, jeeps...
#17
Old 07-08-2007, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaChick
Er, so, stupid question: Why did they need to conserve rubber? What military gear requires copious quantities of rubber?
the supply of natural rubber was greatly reduced and there was no synthetic rubber resource in the US at the beginning of the way.

Tires. An army may travel on its stomach but what filled that stomach was brought on trucks.

gaskets. All of those vehicles require engines,

tank treads. Metal treads wear out quickly.

aircraft fuel tanks. Need self-sealing fuel tanks or the planes are easy to set on fire.

rubber based propellants. Late in the war we used thousands of rockets.


and



condoms for prophylactic kits. Can't have the troops getting VD.

et al.
#18
Old 07-08-2007, 09:46 PM
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Recycling Tires

Cecil says that any tires in excess of five were confiscated by the government. What did they do with the tires? I thought that once rubber had been vulcanized, it was useless for making new rubber products.
#19
Old 07-08-2007, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mks57
Cecil says that any tires in excess of five were confiscated by the government. What did they do with the tires? I thought that once rubber had been vulcanized, it was useless for making new rubber products.
If the tires were still in good condition they could be used on other cars.
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#20
Old 07-08-2007, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mks57
Cecil says that any tires in excess of five were confiscated by the government.
I really have my doubts about this. I don't remember it happening and I can only find one reference on the web. That's Yahoo! Ansewers so the only backup for Cecil's statement is a posting from some unknown individual on a message board. Who knows, maybe that person got their info from Cecil.
#21
Old 07-08-2007, 10:44 PM
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I just checked with my mother, who lived through this period in Texas, and she recalls that this is bullshit. If you were suspected of "hoarding" things could get dicey, but nobody went around confiscating "excess" tires.
#22
Old 07-08-2007, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rediff
I asked some older gentlemen that always gather in the park about how it worked. The indicated to me that there was plenty of gas during World War II and it was propaganda.
That's a good place to get reliable information, y'bet. Personally, I use the local barber shop for my source of news and history.
#23
Old 07-08-2007, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Simmons
the supply of natural rubber was greatly reduced and there was no synthetic rubber resource in the US at the beginning of the way.

Tires. An army may travel on its stomach but what filled that stomach was brought on trucks.

gaskets. All of those vehicles require engines,

tank treads. Metal treads wear out quickly.

aircraft fuel tanks. Need self-sealing fuel tanks or the planes are easy to set on fire.

rubber based propellants. Late in the war we used thousands of rockets.


and



condoms for prophylactic kits. Can't have the troops getting VD.

et al.
Ah. Of course.
#24
Old 07-08-2007, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
We did have plenty of gas, too. With half today's population living mostly pre-suburban lifestyles, we produced more petroleum domestically than we needed.
The only caveat to that might have been aviation gasoline, which US production was sorely strained to provide enough refinery capacity for supporting the Allies as well as our own needs, that was probably in short supply.
#25
Old 07-08-2007, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat
That's a good place to get reliable information, y'bet. Personally, I use the local barber shop for my source of news and history.
Yes, there was plenty of gas, but tires were the thing. People don't understand - tires in those days were not the 50,000+ forget-about-em affair like they are today. Flat tires were common and expected, and they didn't last more than 10 or 15 thousand miles at best. Apples and aircraft carriers.

There was a healthy black market in tires, according to the barber shop guys.
#26
Old 07-08-2007, 11:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Common Tater
The only caveat to that might have been aviation gasoline, which US production was sorely strained to provide enough refinery capacity for supporting the Allies as well as our own needs, that was probably in short supply.
And I think that many, if not most, US refineries of the day were fractional distilleries. In order to make enough of the aviation fuel which used the lighter molecules, huge amounts of regular gasoline resulted. The excess was run off into ponds and burned. I took advanced flight training at Ft. Sumner, NM and we did a lot of night cross country flights over toward the Texas panhandle. You could the see gasoline fires for miles.
#27
Old 07-09-2007, 09:15 AM
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Just a guess, but was there a problem with distribution? Most of the US domestic production and refining would be in the south - around the Caribean and the Gulf ports - most of the use would be in the industrial areas of the North East. A lot of the transportation would have been by sea and in 1942 the U-boats made a hell of a mess of the east coast sea lanes.
#28
Old 07-09-2007, 09:51 AM
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Wasn't most of it in Asia then?
#29
Old 07-09-2007, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Simmons
condoms for prophylactic kits. Can't have the troops getting VD.

et al.
Wait, I just sort of noticed this. Did they really distribute condoms to the troops? I always thought that was a movie invention. Who did they think the troops in the trenches would be getting it on with? I've always been under the impression that the majority of fighting that Americans did, especially on the European front, was 'huddled in a muddy trench three dozen miles from Paris' fighting, not 'urban warfare go to the brothel when you've won' fighting.
#30
Old 07-09-2007, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaChick
Wait, I just sort of noticed this. Did they really distribute condoms to the troops? I always thought that was a movie invention. Who did they think the troops in the trenches would be getting it on with? I've always been under the impression that the majority of fighting that Americans did, especially on the European front, was 'huddled in a muddy trench three dozen miles from Paris' fighting, not 'urban warfare go to the brothel when you've won' fighting.
"Fraternizing" with local girls has been part of army life since Sargon the Great.
#31
Old 07-09-2007, 11:58 AM
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regarding tire rationing: most tire production was reserved for the army. Synthetic rubber production was not sufficient to supply the armie's needs and the civilian population. My gradfather told me of nights he would drive home from his business-praying that his 4 bald tires wouldn't burst! He finally got approval to get some retreaded tires (which were also on allocation). yes, there was PLENTY of gasoline-but no tires.
Question: is natural rubber STILL better than synthetics, for tires? There is still quite a bit of natural rubber production, today.
#32
Old 07-09-2007, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beware of Doug
Wasn't most of it in Asia then?
Correct. Most of our rubber came from areas that had just been taken over by the Japanese.

Last edited by sqweels; 07-09-2007 at 12:43 PM.
#33
Old 07-09-2007, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaChick
Wait, I just sort of noticed this. Did they really distribute condoms to the troops? I always thought that was a movie invention. Who did they think the troops in the trenches would be getting it on with? I've always been under the impression that the majority of fighting that Americans did, especially on the European front, was 'huddled in a muddy trench three dozen miles from Paris' fighting, not 'urban warfare go to the brothel when you've won' fighting.
Condoms were also very useful in keeping water out of the barrel of your rifle during landings and river crossings.
#34
Old 07-09-2007, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad
"Fraternizing" with local girls has been part of army life since Sargon the Great.
Sargon hell. Diddling the honeys dates back to the campaigns of Thag the Compulsively Stabby.
#35
Old 07-09-2007, 01:00 PM
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Next thing you're gonna tell me is that when I ride alone, I am not, in fact, riding with Hitler.

(So I presume that "car-sharing clubs" had the same purpose--conserving tires?)
#36
Old 07-09-2007, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaChick
Wait, I just sort of noticed this. Did they really distribute condoms to the troops? I always thought that was a movie invention. Who did they think the troops in the trenches would be getting it on with? I've always been under the impression that the majority of fighting that Americans did, especially on the European front, was 'huddled in a muddy trench three dozen miles from Paris' fighting, not 'urban warfare go to the brothel when you've won' fighting.
Not everyone was at the front. There were huge air bases and supply warehouses for example that supported thousands of troops who in turn supported the local economy.
#37
Old 07-09-2007, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hajario
Not everyone was at the front. There were huge air bases and supply warehouses for example that supported thousands of troops who in turn supported the local economy.
To support this point, I just found this interesting web site .

Fool the Axis! Use Prophylaxis!
#38
Old 07-09-2007, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaChick
Wait, I just sort of noticed this. Did they really distribute condoms to the troops? I always thought that was a movie invention. Who did they think the troops in the trenches would be getting it on with? I've always been under the impression that the majority of fighting that Americans did, especially on the European front, was 'huddled in a muddy trench three dozen miles from Paris' fighting, not 'urban warfare go to the brothel when you've won' fighting.
Anti venereal prophylactic kits were available on request and taking them was strongly recommended. They contained a comdom, special soap and ointment. There was a regular routine of training films on how to use them and why. Once a month or so the order came to "fall out in raincoats and overshoes." That meant nothing but raincoats and overshoes for penis inspection looking for VD. The army took VD prevention veeerrrrrrrYYY yy seriously and the rate in WWII was astonishingly low as compared to previous wars.

As was mentioned above, the ratio of combat to support troops was about five or six to one and even the combat troots got time in the rear areas on occasion. In fact, Air Force personnel were always in the rear area.

There was a constant diet of training films about VD. There was one real clever one with Robert Benchley, Marjorie Main, and Ava Gardner.

Benchley, as a sailor, steps into a bar. Down at the end of the bar sits Marjorie Main, scraggley hair, a couple of hairy warts on her face, missing several teeth and in a hideous dress. Benchley has a few beers then looks down the bar again. Main's warts and missing teeth have disappeared. A few more beers and Main's hair is fixed and she is in a smart looking outfit. After a few more beers Benchley looks again and there sits Ava Gardner and they leave together. The last scene is Benchley at sick call.

Last edited by David Simmons; 07-09-2007 at 03:15 PM.
#39
Old 07-09-2007, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Simmons
And I think that many, if not most, US refineries of the day were fractional distilleries. In order to make enough of the aviation fuel which used the lighter molecules, huge amounts of regular gasoline resulted. The excess was run off into ponds and burned. I took advanced flight training at Ft. Sumner, NM and we did a lot of night cross country flights over toward the Texas panhandle. You could the see gasoline fires for miles.


I have a hard time believing this. Just burning gasoline like it was a waste product? Couldn't they hook a gasoline engine up to a generator and use it for something? That wouldn't waste tires, at least.
#40
Old 07-09-2007, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Simmons
And I think that many, if not most, US refineries of the day were fractional distilleries. In order to make enough of the aviation fuel which used the lighter molecules, huge amounts of regular gasoline resulted. The excess was run off into ponds and burned. I took advanced flight training at Ft. Sumner, NM and we did a lot of night cross country flights over toward the Texas panhandle. You could the see gasoline fires for miles.
A lot of the fires in the Texas panhandle were sludge pits burning. They have burned them in my lifetime, but not any more.

When an oil well was drilled, they would run crude into a pit until the well was completed. After completion, the salt water produced would still have an oil scum on it. This salt water used to be left to evaporate and the oil scum would build up over time. Both of these oil sludges would be burned off, we used to be able to see them quite often, columns of black smoke on the horizon.

They might have used gasoline to get the sludge burning, but I've never heard of burning straight gasoline.

There were numerous small refineries around here back then, about a dozen locally that I can think of that have been closed and dismantled. Not the Conoco/Phillips in Borger and Valero in Sunray are the 2 major ones surviving, but there are still a few of the minor refineries around. Many are just gas compressor stations now, no longer full refineries.

Last edited by Duke of Rat; 07-09-2007 at 05:34 PM.
#41
Old 07-09-2007, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Simmons
In fact, Air Force personnel were always in the rear area.
Don't ask, don't tell?
#42
Old 07-09-2007, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Simmons
...The army took VD prevention veeerrrrrrrYYY yy seriously and the rate in WWII was astonishingly low as compared to previous wars...
Didn't Eleanor Roosevelt make a failed attempt to have condoms and diaphrams issued to nurses, WACs, and WAVES?
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#43
Old 07-09-2007, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke of Rat
A lot of the fires in the Texas panhandle were sludge pits burning. They have burned them in my lifetime, but not any more.

When an oil well was drilled, they would run crude into a pit until the well was completed. After completion, the salt water produced would still have an oil scum on it. This salt water used to be left to evaporate and the oil scum would build up over time. Both of these oil sludges would be burned off, we used to be able to see them quite often, columns of black smoke on the horizon.
Could be. All I know is what we were told. There did seem to be a lot of fires for what you describe, though. There was a lot of aviation fuel being produced. My group alone used about 18000 gallons on every mission and there was one mission a day, weather permitting. WWII was far from a normal situation and I can well imagine that there was more of the heavier gasoline, or kerosine, or diesel fuel being made than there was need for, transportation for or storage for.
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamthewalrus
I have a hard time believing this. Just burning gasoline like it was a waste product? Couldn't they hook a gasoline engine up to a generator and use it for something? That wouldn't waste tires, at least.
I suppose as much as they could use around the refinery was used but as I noted above there was a lot of aviation fuel being made.

The thing is with fractional distillation you take the molecules as they are in the crude. When you boil of the lighter ones you get a lot of heaviers ones in spite of anything you can do. Had they had catalytic crackers they could have made lighter products out of those heavy ones and there wouldn't have been so much waste.

The thing about war is in addition to its many other drawbacks it is terribly wasteful.

Last edited by David Simmons; 07-09-2007 at 07:58 PM.
#44
Old 07-09-2007, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Ludovic
Don't ask, don't tell?
Well if not in it at least around it.
#45
Old 07-09-2007, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Simmons
Once a month or so the order came to "fall out in raincoats and overshoes." That meant nothing but raincoats and overshoes for penis inspection looking for VD.
Why would footwear affect the short arms inspection?
#46
Old 07-09-2007, 10:47 PM
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The overshoes were called for in case some 19 year old private had been dreaming about Betty Grable so when the order came to "Skin 'em back and milk 'em down!" he got at little too excited, he wouldn't ruin anybody's boots.
#47
Old 07-09-2007, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zagloba
Why would footwear affect the short arms inspection?
Who knows? There's the right way, the wrong way, and the army way.

Actually a lot of us just wore GI shoes and I don't recall anyone getting in trouble over it.
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