Standard Oil began in 1870, when kerosene cost 30 cents a gallon. By 1897, Rockefeller's scientists and managers had driven the price to under 6 cents per gallon, and many of his less-efficient competitors were out of business. It is interesting to note that the so called robber barons hurt their competitors, but seldom (if ever) hurt their customers. Is there something unethical or illegal about hurting a competitor by being efficient? It is also interesting to note that the oil industry in Rockefeller's era had circa 40% of the heating/lighting industry. Wood, coal, & candles had the rest. In the grand scheme of providing heat, Rockefeller did not have a monopoly. BTW: Many are familiar with a line from a song: " . . . . . I owe my soul to the company store . . . . . " How many know that company stores were almost always decent to the customer-worker? The song lyrics are about the only bad press from the era of the company town/store. Most (perhaps all) company towns & stores were started due to mining & other commercial enterprises which had to attract employees to remote areas. They were almost always decent to the workers/customers. They could not afford to gouge/mistreat the customer/worker.