The Place of Pipelines in Petroleum Transportation and Public Policy, 1884-1887
IN THE years 1884-1887 Standard Oil's dominance in the transportation of crude petroleum continued undiminished despite the adoption of new public policies aimed against it. The Pennsylvania free pipe law and the prohibition against the consolidation of competing pipelines did not curb the Trust's pipeline power. Hurt by falling crude prices in the wake of overproduction, producers sought to subject the lines to regulation of rates and practices in Pennsylvania and Ohio in 1887. In the same year the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act crowned years of effort to outlaw railroad discriminations. While independent oilmen contributed significantly to this legislation, they made no effort to have it embrace pipelines. It soon appeared that economic self-interest weighed more heavily with the producers than the public interest which they claimed to champion.
The extent of Standard Oil's pipeline empire was revealed to the oil industry in early 1884 when plans were under way to merge the United Pipe Lines with National Transit. A meeting of the Con-