A major theme of political economy is the undesigned order of the market under private ownership, voluntary exchange, and the rule of law. By permission from the American Oil & Gas Historical Society, MasterResource will publish articles documenting the progress of the market-driven U.S. energy industry. (This article was originally published by AOGS in 2014.)
American mobility would soon depend on a petroleum product from the bottom of the distillation process.
[Pennsylvania Avenue was first paved bitumen imported from Trinidad bitumen in 1876. Thirty-one years later, a better asphalt derived from petroleum distillation was used to repave the famed pathway to the Capitol, above.]
President Ulysses S. Grant directed that Pennsylvania Avenue be paved with Trinidad asphalt. By 1876, the president’s paving project covered about 54,000 square yards, according to A Century of Progress: The History of Hot Mix Asphalt, published in 1992 by National Asphalt Pavement Association.…