Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,400+ case briefs...

United States v. Socony-Vacuum Oil Co.

United States Supreme Court
310 U.S. 150 (1940)



In 1935, Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, Inc., and several other midwestern oil companies (defendants) met and verbally agreed to divide up the spot market for gasoline so that each oil company would be matched with an independent refinery. Whenever spot-market gasoline became available, the designated oil company would purchase the gasoline at market price. The effect of the arrangement was to remove the unpredictability of spot gasoline as a market factor on the price of gasoline at retail. The price of gasoline became stabilized at a certain price point, and the oil companies began to charge more at the retail level. The United States (plaintiff) brought a complaint, alleging that the oil companies had engaged in unlawful concerted action in violation of the Sherman Act. In district court, a jury returned a verdict for the government. The court of appeals reversed, finding that the oil companies’ actions should not have been considered a per se violation. The government appealed the decision.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Douglas, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 497,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 497,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,400 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial