Dwight Watt Internet Article #32

#32 - The myth of brand gas superiority dies 11/28/1999

#32 - The myth of brand gas superiority dies

For many years we have heard the ads and stories from the oil Seven Sisters about the superiority of their brands of gas over the independents. Most of us at least at some time agreed that w thought one gas brand or another ran better in our vehicles. Now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has exposed that one brand is not superior to another.

We have all heard how each brand would make our cars run better. Exxon claimed it would run best if we "put a tiger in our tank", Gulf has Good Gulf gasoline to stop the knocks, Texaco says use their Clean-3 System, AMOCO had no lead with the clear gas way back, etc. I don't know if you have been following the merger business, but oil companies are merging just like phone companies. Back in the early 1900s the government broke up Standard Oil and made it into a number of separate companies that became known as the seven sisters. Recently BP and AMOCO merged and announced that in the near future they would use the BP name in Britain and the AMOCO name in the US. I guess the second attempt of BP to sell in the US failed again, except this time they will still be here but we will see the as AMOCO who they are part of.

Mobil and Exxon also have announced their merger. In a story in The Anderson (SC) Independent-Mail on November 24, the paper reported the FTC has been closely investigating this merger and trying to rules on the two to keep from them ruling certain markets, in particular the Northeast and middle Atlantic states. To keep this from occurring the FTC made a proposal this week that with its release should have caused a reduction in the value of these companies. Rather they agree to the deal or not the cat is out of the bag.

What the FTC is proposing that Exxon and Mobil do to get the FTC's approval of the deal is that they must each sell off a number of their gas stations and sever ties with their independent dealers in two areas. Exxon is to do this in the Northeast and California, and Mobil in the Middle Atlantic States and Texas. So far nothing unusual. When Chevron bought parts of Gulf a number of years ago the same deal. The second part is the interesting part. Those stations that Mobil and Exxon dispose of must continue using the Exxon and Mobile names for 10 years and cannot buy their gas from Exxon and Mobil.

That means when this deal goes through if you buy gas from a Mobil or Exxon station you will not know if you are buying Exxon or Mobile or who knows whose gas from them. Not only that if whoever is distributing that gas distributes bad gas to those stations, we will be convinced that it was Mobil or Exxon gas. So much for brand identification. Also means that now we know that apparently all the gas is the same if Mobil and Exxon agree to this as they are saying it is the sticker on the sign that is significant. So now we know the best thing as far as fuel is concerned is to buy the cheapest for the amount of service we want. Of course if it is local, buy from the one you can depend on not to water it down.


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