This article examines a government-sponsored cartel that fixed domestic crude oil prices in interstate markets from 1933 through 1972. Although the cartel raised and stabilized nominal oil prices beyond earlier private efforts, it also resulted in politically driven constraints on price, output levels, and cartel rent distribution. Political factors molded quota assignments, diverted production from low- to high-cost producers, and raised production costs. Political pressures prevented Texas from acting as a residual or swing producer. Instead, the interstate oil cartel members maintained nominal prices and spread the political costs of output adjustments.