Chevron latest major to remove name from stations

AP News
Posted: Dec 04, 2009 4:24 PM

Chevron will pull its name from about 1,100 service stations in eastern states, the oil giant said Friday.

It's just the latest oil major to cut back on retail operations where profit margins can be razor thin.

BP PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips have stepped away from the retail side in varying degrees over the past 18 months.

Chevron Corp. says it will withdraw from motor fuels operations in Washington D.C. and 12 states from Indiana to South Carolina by the middle of 2010. The company, based in San Ramon, Calif., ships about 2.3 million gallons of gasoline a day to those areas.

Customers in the affected states still be able to buy gas at the service stations as the owners move to other brands, company spokesman Lloyd Avram said.

Numerous oil companies have eased away from the retail side of the business, said Jeff Lenard, a spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores. In their place, grocery chains and major retailers are stepping in with hopes of luring customers into stores as part of a one-stop shopping trip.

"You make 1-2 cents a gallon to sell gas," Lenard said. "It's not easy to make money, unless you have something else to sell."

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Chevron said it will focus on areas where it has a more dominant market share.

"We're growing in markets where it makes sense to grow, primarily in the West coast," Avram said.

The company still supplies more than 5,000 stations in the East. The company expects to make up for lost sales in eastern states in other areas where it has a stronger presence.