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Crude PoliticsThe California Oil Market, 1900-1940$
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Paul Sabin and Philip Rousseau

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520241985

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520241985.001.0001

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Federalism and the Unruly California Oil Market

Federalism and the Unruly California Oil Market

Chapter:
(p.134) CHAPTER 6 Federalism and the Unruly California Oil Market
Source:
Crude Politics
Author(s):

Paul Sabin

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520241985.003.0007

At the start of the 1930s California oil producers and state government leaders explored national limits on imports as a way to solve the oil market problem but they were turned away by the Hoover administration. Although the major oil companies claimed that the Sharkey oil commission would bring “financial security,” some independent operators complained about the “great hardship” that the Sharkey bill would impose. The core leadership of the Oil Producers Sales Agency strongly backed the Sharkey bill when it came up on a ballot referendum in May 1932. The defeat of the Sharkey bill left a regulatory vacuum that oil industry leaders lamented as they criticized the narrow-mindedness of California voters. Oil operators sought to eliminate destructive competition by ordering and controlling the oil market to their advantage. Public and private regulation of the market prevented competitive overproduction by thoroughly squandering California's petroleum resources and from lowering oil prices to levels that would cause widespread well closures.

Keywords:   oil market, California, federalism, Sharkey bill, petroleum resources, oil prices, Oil Producers Sales Agency

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