Exxon sells US gas stations to distributors
June 13, 2008
According to the
Associated Press, Exxon Mobil Corp. said recently it''s getting out of
the retail gasoline business, following other major oil companies
who''ve been selling their low-margin stations to gasoline distributors.
Motorists, however, will continue to
see Exxon''s Tiger-themed stations and Mobil outlets in their
neighborhoods. Already, about 75 percent of Exxon Mobil''s roughly
12,000 stations in the U.S. are owned by branded distributors, who buy
Exxon Mobil products and pay to use the name.
Irving-based Exxon, the world''s
biggest publicly traded oil company, said it now plans to sell to
distributors its remaining 820 company-owned stations and another 1,400
outlets operated by dealers. Exxon Mobil didn''t disclose financial
details but said the sales will take place over a several years.
Texas has the most company-owned retail locations with about 190. Florida is next with 170.
Exxon Mobil is not alone among Big
Oil exiting the retail gas business, a market where profits have gotten
tougher as crude oil prices have risen. In fact, industry officials say
the major oil companies own fewer than 5 percent of U.S. gas stations.
Gas prices reached a new record at
the pump, rising to a national average of $4.06 a gallon. Still,
station owners say they''re struggling to turn a profit on gas because
while wholesale gasoline prices have risen sharply in recent months,
they''ve been unable to raise pump prices fast enough to keep pace.
Most gasoline retailers long ago got
past any illusion they can make money by selling gas. They rely on gas
sales to drive traffic to their shops, where they hope auto repairs or
food and drink sales will help them turn a profit.
Jeff Lenard, a spokesman for the
National Association of Convenience Stores, said Exxon Mobil''s decision
to sell its stations is not surprising given similar moves by BP, Shell
Exxon Mobil said it sells about 14 billion gallons of gasoline annually at its U.S. branded stations.