1900-1950

1905: Crude Oil Pipelines

At this point in history the oil business was shifting from kerosene lamp oil to gasoline. Edison's electric light bulb replaced oil lamps in many of the cities, reducing the kerosene market, but Henry Ford had changed the landscape with mass produced automobiles. Crude oil pipelines carrying oil from the prolific fields in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas to the refineries in the East began to cross the country.

1900-1915: The Government Acts

By now Standard Oil controlled over 80 % of the world’s refining and transportation. John D. Rockefeller was the most powerful man in the world. 1890, the U.S. government passed the Sherman Antitrust Act and an energetic young president, Theodore Roosevelt, challenged the Standard Oil Trust. Pipeline regulation went hand-in-hand in 1906, as the Hepburn Act made interstate pipelines common carriers that were required to offer their services at equal cost to all shippers. In 1912, the antitrust litigation was final and Standard Oil dissolved into seven regional oil companies. In 1913, the Valuation Act was the first attempt at Federal involvement in U.S. pipeline ratemaking.

 

1917: Crude Oil Pipelines

By the advent of WWI, crude oil pipelines were traversing much of the nation.

1920s: Pipeline Mileage Triples

During the 1920s, driven by the growth of the automobile industry, total U.S. pipeline mileage grew to over 115,000 miles.

1935: Population Shifts (Product Lines)

By the 1930s, the population continued to move west across the Mississippi River, and the first product pipelines were built from Whiting, St. Louis and Kansas City to the west.

 

1945: Product Lines Grow During WWII

Throughout WWII, product systems grew rapidly along the eastern seaboard. 48 U.S. oil tankers were sunk in the early stages of the war, showing the U.S. vulnerability to such an attack. This quickly led to the expansion of land-based large-diameter pipelines carrying crude oil and products from areas, such as Texas and Oklahoma to East Coast consumer states.  Near the end of the war, pipeline regulation became the responsibility of the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission, who introduced the notion of reasonable returns in the eight percent to 10 % range.