Standard Oil : Today or go to - pre-1911 1911 1941 1961

The former Standards consolidate further to compete in the global petroleum market, and marketing as Standard in the United States is not in the picture. The last company to widely use "Standard" on its US stations is sold.

Mobil created the Reelo and Sello convenience store brands in the 1970's after the oil crisis struck, finding more profits in convenience foods than petroleum. These were discontinued in the 1980's, after the gasoline market had recovered. Mobil's On the Run C-store brand has proved to be much more popular. Mobil kept on the edge of technical innovation, creating the electronic payment process called Speedpass. Mobil merged with Exxon in 1999 to become ExxonMobil. So far there are no plans to eliminate either the Exxon or Mobil brand. Mobil's Pegasus is still an official company mascot. Exxon has even adopted "Speedpass".

Esso / Jersey Standard / Humble was not happy not being able to market nationwide as Esso. Humble, still used in Texas and Ohio, did not have the right zip to it either. Legend has it that Enco had a bad sound or meaning in other languages. ("Stalled Car" is the nicer transliteration I have heard.) The company brainstormed, looking for a new name close to Esso, but with no current meaning in any other languages. The search for a name became known as "Project Nugget", after accusations that the Enco and Humble names, the 'gold' they already had, had been slighted in the process. Other proposed names included Enjay (N-J, get it?), ECCO and ARCON. Attempts by non-English speakers to pronounce the linguistically awkward "Enjay" might be the source for the Enco / stalling stories. Jersey searched for any legal means to stay with Esso in the USA, but finally had to settle on Exxon. Starting in 1972, Humble / Jersey Standard changed its name, and re-branded all their US stations to this new corporate identity. Esso is still used by the company outside of the United States, but the Standard name was officially gone from the US operations of the former holding company of the Standard Oil Trust. Reportedly, a few Esso petroleum products are available only at stations in the old Esso marketing area. Exxon merged with Mobil, the former Socony, in 1999. The resulting company is called ExxonMobil. The combined company is keeping both companys' mascots, the Tiger and the Pegasus. Exxon / Esso has a long-standing commitment to the Tiger, and seems to be the leading company in the merger. Mobil's Pegasus logo has a history goes back to the pre-1911 Standard Oil Trust days.
2000: The Tiger: ExxonMobil may not have plans to dump the tiger, but it is under attack from Battle Creek, Michigan. Kellogg's wants Exxon to stop using a tiger at its 'Tiger Mart' stores. They claim only Tony can be associated with food products. While Mobil's "On the Run" has a good following, there are still TigerMarts.

Standard Oil of Ohio (Sohio) During the 1980's, British Petroleum (BP) increased its stake in Sohio as Sohio invested in the Alaskan pipeline. In 1972, BP/Sohio purchased McLean, VA-based Scot. Better performing Scot stations were re-branded BP, lower performers recieved Sohio's Boron. BP's attempt to use former eastern US Sinclair locations for its own marketing were less than successful. Most locations were sold to Fina (PetroFina) in 1973. In 1984, Truckstops of America (TA) was purchased by Sohio. In 1984, BP/Sohio purchased Gulf's southeastern marketing area from Chevron. Along the way, Gas and Go in Michigan and Gibbs and Tulsa in New England were added to the brand portfolio as well, though Gibbs and Tulsa werre left alone and may have been sold off in later years. The southeastern marketing area of Gulf started a re-imaging to BP. In 1987, BP bought the remaining shares of Sohio it did not yet own. Sohio became just one of the brands owned by BP America, restricted by history to a single state. In 1989, the BP brand started to spread across the USA, starting in Tennessee with former Gulf and Boron locations. That went so well that in 1990, there was a nationwide transition from Boron, Wm. Penn, Gas-N-Go and Gulf to BP. That went less smoothly and many re-branded stations closed. In 1991, Standard Oil disappeared in Ohio, the red, white and blue re-done in green, silver, and yellow as BP. In 1993, BP America sold TA to an investment group. TA changed its name to TravelCenters of America in 1997. bp's website refers to Sohio only briefly in the bp history as 'Standard Oil of Ohio' or 'The original Standard Oil'. BP America moved its headquarters from Cleveland to Chicago after a merger with another Standard - Amoco. The enduring legacy of old Sohio is a piece of public art. It is the worlds largest rubber stamp. It was intended for Standard OIl headquaters in Cleveland, Ohio. It was to say "Paid". Before it could be installed, BP bought out the remainder of Sohio. By the time the stamp was ready, BP had Amoco (Indiana Standard) and acquired a nice new headquarters for BP America in Chicago. The stamp was stored, and finally given to Cleveland as a gift. Paid became Free.

Standard Oil of Indiana decided to make Amoco Oil Company its national brand and corporate identity in 1973. In 1974 the company started changing its American-branded stations to the Amoco name. In the midwest, station owners were given a choice of the new-look Amoco or the familiar and trusted Standard name. Pic by Cirillo Richie Kennedy of "Kansas Highways" maintains one of the best collection photographs of Standard Torch-and-Oval signs on the net, linked here. The company did not quit growing. It purchased Sing Oil in 1990 and Omega Oil of Ohio in 1996. BP America merged with Amoco in 1998, becoming BPAmoco. Initial plans were to convert all assets of both companies in the USA to the Amoco brand name. BPAmoco assets in the rest of the world, including former Amoco assets, were to become BP. In early 2000, BPAmoco purchased ARCO, which survives as a brand name west of the Rocky Mountians. On March 16, 2000 BPAmoco announced it now planned to drop the Amoco half of its name. The only remaining thing to be named "Amoco" was to be the fuel. Amoco Ultimate is still the leading premium brand of gasoline and has very high brand loyalty. On July 24, 2000 the new bp logo was unveiled, a green and yellow "sunburst" I believe it will be seen on ARCO stations in the future.* The official name for the logo is Helios, evoking a 'sun' mural at bp's London headquarters and hinting at the flame from Amoco's torch. The new bp connect stations were slowly introduced into Amoco Standard markets in the early 2000's, in a change from the drastic Sohio to BP re-branding. The colors are green, yellow and gray. They feature "Amoco fuels" with a tiny red, white and blue stripe or Torch and Oval. The Dave Blaney NASCAR Amoco car focused on the "Ultimate" gasoline brand in 2001, and bp did not renew the racing team's contract for 2002. 'bp' has primary corporate offices in London, England with a majority of its stockholders being in the United States. As I understand things, the company is no longer British Petroleum, either. Like CBS, the anagram is now the company's identity. There is still no word on if or how they plan to keep the Standard trademark alive, or if it matters to them. I guess bp executives think of Esso as Standard. ExxonMobil owns that venerable trademark in Great Britain. bp has a long and storied history of its own, and may have decided that continued ties to a disputed company trademark may not be profitable.The possible company name "Beyond Petroleum" was floated about in 2000, or maybe that was just marketing.
2003 - Some of the Amoco signs were getting raggedy, the change is probably taking longer than expected. New Amoco signs have been seen in some places. A mutant Helios-Amoco sign has been used by a jobber in Florida, and BP and Amoco are touted in radio ads.
2004 - The torch and oval are almost gone America's heartland, most Amoco stations that remain sport the new green colors on the canopy. The southeastern US seems to be slower to change than the rest of the company. A few historic Standard/Amoco signs will remain, ones impractical to convert.
December 2004- New signs have started to appear at Arco stations. The Arco spark is still prominent, but bp's Helios is on the move. (Pictures of the North Hollywood, CA Arco sign courtesy James Freedner.)
2005 - Amoco Ultimate gasoline (available at bp) is advertised, but no other mention of Amoco. Few Amoco stations remain, low volume locations or areas scheduled to be demolished for highway construction. Oddly enough, bp never mentions being British Petroleum in its US advertising. The name 'Beyond Petroleum' keeps resurfacing, or is that still just a slogan? It's hard to tell. Maybe that's the point.
2008 - It is possible that the last place a Torch and Oval 'Standard' sign will be in active use is Elmhurst, Illinois. The Hi-Pointe Amoco sign in St. Louis, MO will even outlast that, it's a landmark.

Standard Oil of California (Socal) became Standard in 1970 throughout its marketing area along the southern US. In 1977, the company replaced Standard with Chevron. 'Chevron' became the corporate identity in 1984. The corporation has a Standard station in every state they have the rights for to ensure no one else will claim the Standard brand name (Including Esso). The host cities for these last Standards, as of 1997, were: Anchorage, AK; Honolulu, HI; Bellevue, WA; Milwaukie, OR; Boise, ID; Midvale, UT; San Francisco, CA; Las Vegas, NV; Phoenix, AZ; Albquerque, NM; El Paso, TX; Georgetown, KY; Vicksburg, MS; Birmingham, AL; Atlanta, GA; and Miami, FL. Chevron expanded into the Northeastern US by merging with Gulf Oil in 1984. Gulf Oil's Southeastern US territories were sold to BP America and Northeastern stations were sold to Cumberland Farms, who had operated convienience stores in tandem with them.
October 2000: Chevron plans to merge with Texaco, creating a new company: ChevronTexaco. So far there is no word on if the 'Standard' stations would remain, but the safe money is on the company keeping an interest in them as long as Esso is Exxon's primary brand name outside of the United States.
August 2001: ChevronTexaco is still a go, but the retail side is tied up by Texaco's
Equilon / Motiva deal with Shell.
October 9, 2001:
ChevronTexaco is official. The results: Chevron will be the company's brand in the United States and Canada. Texaco will be the company's brand in Latin America, Europe, and West Africa. Caltex, now wholly owned by ChevronTexaco, will market where it already does in Australia, East Africa, Asia, and across the Pacfic Ocean. Until 2004, Texaco retail marketing in the USA will be done by Equilon/Motiva (Shell / SaudiAramco).
February 2002: Cumberland Farms might be dropping its Gulf marketing operation, Gulf Lubricants will be available from ChevronTexaco.
January 2003: ChevronTexaco plans to market gasoline in the eastern and southern United States under the Texaco name starting in June 2004, delays by Shell in retiring the Texaco brand have left it as a strong marketing property. The Havoline brand of lubricants is enjoying something of a resurgance, as it allows Chevron to keep the Texaco logo in the public eye.
2004 - Equilon/Motiva converted as many Texaco station to Shell as possible in 2004, but some jobbers kept the old company shingle out front and converted to the new Texaco. ChevronTexaco re-expanded Texaco markerketing to the US Western states, where it was very well recieved. ChevronTexaco has offered credit cards for each company and a dual-brand one that mirrors ExxonMobil and Equilon/Motiva's Shell/Texaco. There are still quite a few Motiva/Shells out and about, so you better be sure before pulling out the card.
April 2005 - ChevronTexaco announced a plan to merge with
Unocal (formerly known as Union Oil of California), an exploratrion and production company that formerly marketed as "76". No name or logo changes are expected. In fact, Unocal still uses the original orange 76 ball that ConocoPhillips turned red for domestic marketing.
Chevron 2005May 2005 - First, ChevronTexaco announced that Techron was going global. Every Caltex and company-supplied Texaco would get this signature fuel additive. Later in the month, the company announced a change in name and logo to - Chevron Corporation. Back to the future we go with a little tweaking of the Hallmark logo. No logo changes have been announced for the Texaco or Caltex brands. The "Standard" branding has even taken a little face lift to match the new look.
June 2005 - The Chinese National Offshore Oil Company, or CNOOC, offered a rival bid for Unocal . It was eventually withdrawn, clearing the way for Chevron's lower but politically more palatable bid.
August 2005 - Unocal (76) is now a Chevron company, but the 76 gasoline brand is still with Conoco. This was for the upstream (production) part of the company.

Among the other former Standard companies:

Standard Oil pre-1911 . Standard Oil in 1911 . Standard Oil in 1941 . Standard Oil in 1961 . Standard Oil Today . Standard Oil Worldwide

Credits:

Maps: 1930 South Dakota by Indiana Standard, 1940 Maine to Florida by Amoco, 1941 Pennsylvania by Standard of Pennsylvania (
Esso cards were usable at Standard Stations nationwide), 1942 California by California Standard

Books: Titan by Ron Chernow, Standard Oil Company (Indiana) Oil Pioneer of the Middle West by Paul H. Giddens, Standard Oil, The First 125 Years by Wayne Henderson & Scott Benjamin, History of the Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) 1882-1911, Pioneering in Big Business by Ralph W. Hidy and Muriel E. Hidy, Formative Years in the Far West - A History of Standard Oil Company of California by Gerald T. White, Challenge and Response A Modern history of Standard Oil Company (Indiana) by Emmett Dedmon, Wea Creek to El Dorado: Oil in Kansas 1860-1920 by Francis W. Schruben, The Esso Collectibles Handbook by J. Sam McIntyre, Sohioan Jan 1945 75th Anniversary Special Editon, Selling Sohio, History of the Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) 1911-1927, The Resurgent Years by Evelyn Knowlton & George Gibb History of the Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) 1927-1950, New Horizons by H.M. Larson, E.H. Knowlton, and C.S. Popple, Growth in a Changing Environment - A History of of Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) 1950-1972 and Exxon Corporation 1972-1975 by B.H. Wall, One Hundred Years Helping to Shape the Future 1879-1979 by Chevron, Span (magazine) Spring 1961 by S.O. Ind, Standard Oil - The First 125 Years by W. Henderson & S. Benjamin, Conoco: The First 100 Years by Continental Oil and Guide to Gasoline Logos by Wayne Henderson and Scott Benjamin - An incredible overview of gasoline marketing history. I can not recommend this book highly enough.


Invaluable data (i.e. just about everything else) provided by Mark Bozanich , Mark J. Cuccia , Francois Micheloud, S. Berliner, III, Mark Greaves and various oil company websites linked throughout the site.
There was invaluable information at
The Handbook of Texas Online and FindLaw.
Many of the corporate logos adapted from
John Cirillo's Gas Signs page, others are from maps and other publications. More road map covers are at Jon Roma's webpage.

Also thanks to Joe Urice, Jon Enslin, Bruce B. Reynolds, Mark Potter, and Dan Swires whose knowledge and experience added to and improved the information above.

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This page first posted July 12, 2001
This page last edited Sunday, November 09, 2008

"You expect more from Standard, and you get it!" - Standard (Indiana) Trademark

LEGAL NOTE: The use of oil company logos and names on this website is meant to educate, illustrate and clarify, and is not meant as a challenge to the copyrights of the companies represented on this site, their predecessors, or their successors. Research and commentary 2008 R.V. Droz, usable with permission.