SCOUTING YESTERDAY: 'Highway robbery' — Gov. McMaster takes on Standard Oil Co. gas prices
This week in South Dakota history: Aug. 9-Aug. 15
South Dakota Gov. William H. McMaster met with the Independent Oil Jobbers Association of South Dakota to discuss the falling price of gasoline, according to an Aug. 14, 1923, article in The Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times. The governor had succeeded in his goal of cheaper gas prices for the citizens of South Dakota, but was now hearing from South Dakota oilmen about their concerns.
McMaster began his fight with the American oil companies Aug. 7 when he claimed that the 26.6 cent per gallon average gasoline price in South Dakota was a profit grab of nearly 100 percent. Blaming Standard Oil Co. for the pricing, not independent local dealers, McMaster’s telegraphed statement said that the 10 cent per gallon excess profit amounted to between $6 and $7 million taken from the state of South Dakota in the last year and a half. The governor called the move “nothing more or less than highway robbery.”