It is interesting to look at gasoline as it reads in newspapers a almost a hundred years ago. I often wonder, will people 50 years from know say things like – I remember when gas was only $3.80 a gallon 🙂
The Ogden standard – 1919
Soaring Prices for Gasoline Frightens Remedy in Car building Economics
Not long ago it is reported to have been said by an Ogden citizen, amply able to buy an automobile, that he would not object to the cost price of a machine, were it not that the cost of maintenance is so exceedingly high. He said that gasoline alone is enough to cause a man to refrain from investing in a car, as he had observed it gradually going higher.
The alarming high price of gasoline and other greatly increased expense accounts in maintaining a car, has caused the builders of autos to so arrange the car as to minimize cost of maintenance, and it is said that the high cost of fuel has really been tho means of making better cars and improving sufficiently to overcome the high gasoline price. A. G. Seiberling, general manager of the Haynes Automobile company, declares: “Since gasoline soared early last winter there has boon an insistent demand for the economical car, and the makers of tho medium priced automobiles have been shaping their motor designs, not only. toward the reduction of power, but toward power coupled with efficiency.
Keep in mind that this was printed in 1919 – 3 years after these ridiculous prices that appeared in a Chicago paper in 1916.
The argument that the big oil companies control the price of gasoline is not a new one as this piece from Goodwins Weekly in Utah in 1916 shows. It is a very interesting read ….
There is a protest spreading from coast to coast against excessive prices for gasoline. It ad its organized beginning in California, were more than eighty thousand car owners have joined the movement. It already has varying prices over the country.
For instance, in Salt Lake it is now quoted at thirty cents; in New York the price remains at twenty- three cents; Philadelphia, usually a little below New York in gasoline prices, now as gone ahead and is paying twenty-four, and Pittsburgh as follow- the example of Philadelphia and also as a twenty-four cent gasoline; in Portland, Oregon, the price is only eighteen and a half. Once started there is no telling what gasoline prices will do.
As every one knows Standard Oil today as the power to fix the quotations and, independent dealers dare not object. One official connected directly with the production of gasoline in western fields said the other day that his company could make good profit at fifteen cents a gallon.
“Then why don’t you reduce it to that price? He was asked this and his answer was empathetic, “If we do that Standard will cut under us so quickly that we will have to operate at a loss. The Standard teaches some hard lessons. One is not to cut under its prices. Most of the producers have learned to respect the Standard price leadership.” The Standard Oil company as recently advanced to price of gasoline for export one cent, the figure now being 28.6 per gallon in 1,000 case lots.
Congressman Charles Randall, of Los Angeles, has introduced into the house of representatives a resolution for to government manufacture and distribution of gasoline at cost. The resolution states that to process of refining gasoline discovered by a government expert, Dr. Rittman and supposed to reduce to production cost of to commodity fifty percent as had no effect in lowering the retail price. On the other hand, Congressman Randall’s resolution points out manufacturers of gasoline have raised prices fifty percent since the announcement of the Rittman process, despite the fact that crude materials from which gasoline is manufactured have not advanced in price.
The resolution is intended to give the government power to manufacture gasoline by means of the Rittman process and also to sell it at cost to consumers. Rumors and declarations of the intention to investigate and discover who “is working the lever under the price of gasoline are plentiful. One such investigation as been begun by the public prosecutor of Youngstown, Ohio. The nonchalance with which Standard Oil views the agitation against its constantly increasing prices is sown by to testimony of Robert Stewart, a director of the Standard Oil company of Indiana, given recently before the Five Committee Council in Minneapolis. The council had demanded that the increased price be explained before a permit was issued to Standard Oil to establish several new filling stations. He said: “An embargo of gasoline shipments to the war zone might help the situation, but the price will continue to rise and a world wide gasoline famine is a possibility.
Keep in mind that the Standard Oil Company was founded by John D. Rockefeller, who became the wealthiest man in modern history.
more to come …….