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Gotta solicitation snail mail piece yesterday wanting me to apply for a Chevron card. While I know Chevron gas has that Techron shtuff in it, which is good for LT engines, and which can be purchased separately by the bottle at an auto parts store, I didn't know that Techron has now been added to the Texaco products. Sez so right in the literature.

Also, I didn't know Chevron and Texaco were dating!! Around these parts, Shell has taken over 'most' of the previous Texaco stations and is pricing the gas several cents higher than the competition! And the neighborhood Mobil station that I bitched about last month still doesn't show any Exxon affiliation, and the Exxon station down the street from him doesn't show any Mobil affiliation. Hard to tell the players anymore!!

Any rate, they say the Techron shtuff is really good, so I may try another bottle in the tank before Toad gets a major tune-up this off-season.

Just an FYI for you folks that trade at a Texaco station.
 

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Been using the Chevron/Texaco gas in the bike for a while now. My credit card has both badges on it so it works at both stations.

Here's another one for ya', Phillips 66, Conoco, and 76 are now linked. Just received a new card the other day and all three are on it. Now I only have to carry 3 gas credit cards. Makes the wallet a little lighter these days.
 

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In one way they are all connected. All the gas gets dumped in the same pipeline along the way & comes out of taps with different names on them, then they each add their secret snake oil to it.
 

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I have always used Chevron. Most Chevron's carry 94 Octane here. Other stations like Shell, Esso, PetroCanada, don't have techron added, and most of them only carry 92 Octane.

Cheers
 

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A few years ago, I got a new Shell card which also has the Texaco emblem on it. Shell took over most of the Texaco stations, but there are a few left. Exxon/Mobil seem to share all the advertising here, and the one card is good for both, but not the little Speed-Pass. That only works at Mobil. Amoco/ BP has also done the same thing with the cards. This all went on within maybe 6 months of each other, and each issued new cards.
 

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Bruce said:
Been using the Chevron/Texaco gas in the bike for a while now. My credit card has both badges on it so it works at both stations.

Here's another one for ya', Phillips 66, Conoco, and 76 are now linked. Just received a new card the other day and all three are on it. Now I only have to carry 3 gas credit cards. Makes the wallet a little lighter these days.
Is there any advantage to using the gas company's credit card instead of MasterCard, Visa, Discover ?? My Citi MasterCard gives a 5% rebate on all gasoline purchases with all brands of gas at all stations.

- Bob
 

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Chevron and Texaco merged about 4 or 5 years ago. Chevron was quite a bit more involved in Natural gas production than Texaco (who I believe is a subsidiary of Shell Oil Company. Could be wrong about this last detail though)
Anyway, there was a lot of wrangling over what changes would be made in what regions in regard to the station brandings and such. Many problems arose with station owners and jobbers. There seemed to be a bit of an identity crisis going on. It has just taken this long to iron out all the details.
Depending on where you live...you may have seen your Chevron turn into a Texaco...then back into a Chevron at some point.
Shell will keep thier brand seperate and Chevron and Texaco will keep thier brands seperate but extend the same credit.
 

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jayz9705 said:
and the one card is good for both, but not the little Speed-Pass. That only works at Mobil.
Au contraire, mon ami! :) The Exxon stations are starting to get SpeedPass-enabled pumps -- most around here have it, and the two Exxons I hit coming up I-81 from Iron Horse did, too.

Having snagged Mobil's license to the patents on SpeedPass, Exxon apparently wants to get it deployed asap to help differentiate themselves from Shell, etc. -- happy to see it, as it's nice to be able to just whip it out of the oddments compartment, and not have to go rummaging around for the wallet to find a conventional card.
 

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As a former oil company manager, turned semi-retired economics professor, I always smile when I see information about the oil industry. There seems to be a fair amount of misconception..........

Quote: "Chevron and Texaco merged about 4 or 5 years ago. Chevron was quite a bit more involved in Natural gas production than Texaco (who I believe is a subsidiary of Shell Oil Company. Could be wrong about this last detail though)" end quote.

Chevron did buy Texaco Corporation, however, Texaco was not a subsidiary of Shell. Shell is a British Corporation with a large market presence in the U.S. Prior to Chevron buying Texaco, Shell and Texaco had a U.S. joint venture called Equilon in the West and Motiva in the eastern U.S. With the joint venture they shared downstream assets including retail gasoline outlets. They were branded either Shell or Texaco. As part of the merger agreement, Shell had a limited time period to use the Texaco logo. Over the next few years, if you see a Texaco brand or a Chevron Brand, the logo will be owned by Chevron Corporation.

Of course, other mergers have taken place, including; Exxon/Mobil, Conoco/Phillips, BP/Arco and others. Mergers are a common occurrence in oligopoly industries where extremely high fixed costs and capital requirements mean that "big is better", in order for these firms to spread high fixed costs over more barrels of oil sold.

I'm sure that this is providing more detail than anyone cares about, but other misconceptions abound:

- Regarding brand preference, gasoline is what we call a homogeneous or fungible commodity in that there is little difference between gasoline brands (with the exception of the additives). Oil companies frequently swap gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other products (this is called product exchanges), but in managing the supply chain, they do inject their particular additive. Additives do add some value, but over the life of a typical engine, buying any known brand is generally fine. Consumers should compare prices and shop accordingly. Blind loyalty to any gasoline brand is unwise (to put it kindly); despite what the oil companies would have you believe with their advertising campaigns. In my own case, I prefer Chevron Techron because I have personally seen the technical comparison data. How much do I prefer it---- well, to the tune of a nickel per gallon, or so. If their price is too much above the competition, I also know that putting any quality gasoline into my engine is fine......

Other misconceptions:

- Higher Octane is better. Nonsense. Despite what oil companies might have you believe, higher octane is not better for your engine. By the way, higher octane costs only a few more pennies to refine, not the 10 or 15 cents you see at the pump. Octane impedes premature burning (slows down ignition). Unless, you have a high compression, high performance engine, buying higher octane is like flushing your hard earned dollars down the toilet. If you hear pinging, you're experiencing premature ignition, so try moving up a grade of octane. Otherwise, read your owners manual and follow the recommendation.

- Oil companies price gouge. This is mostly nonsense. The petroleum business is very, very competitive. The largest contributor to high prices is OPEC, where collusion between oil producing countries pushes up crude oil prices. If OPEC type behaviors occurred in the U.S., the FBI would show up with handcuffs, but U.S. anti-trust laws obviously cannot be enforced outside of U.S. borders.

- High pump prices ---- most gasoline dealers are independent business people. Oil companies cannot force dealers what price to charge. Oil companies sell based on wholesale prices, which are extremely sensitive to the amount of supply and demand for the gasoline.

- Oil companies earn "obscene profits". Nonsense. Right now some oil companies are earning well over normal profits because the hurricanes have shut in refinery capacity, driving up prices. In the long run, oil companies do earn a lot of money in absolute, profit-after-tax measures, but if you look at the huge asset base oil companies maintain, their return on capital employed isn't nearly as high as the average person on the street would believe. Oil company stocks are not the high fliers out there, but they plod along, just like any other blue chipper plugging away, day after day. Billions of dollars in absolute profits sounds like a lot, and it is.... but consider that if oil companies took the liquidated market value of all their assets and dropped the money in the corner bank or bought low risk bonds, they might be better off, and with no risk. A more valuable measure of a firm's success is what they have earned on the assets they must employ to run the business. Well..... think about it, oil companies must have billions and billions of dollars tied up in assets.

- If consumers want to lower prices, it's simple. Don't buy the products and quit driving your SUV's. Supply and Demand are powerful forces. The state of California, for example, is not fond of granting permits for new refineries or refinery upgrades. Of course, CARB (California Air Resource Board) gasoline is the most expensive gasoline to produce in the world. Furthermore, imported gasoline won't meet these stringent specs, which keeps supply continuously low in the state. That's OK from an environmental perspective, but there is no free lunch and we must consider that the trade-off will be higher prices.

Unfortunately, right now rapid growth in China, India and other less developed nations has put unusual demands on energy. This has caused a lot of uncertainty in the energy markets. Is crude oil really valued at $62+ dollars per barrel or are speculative traders (combined with OPEC) pushing up prices due to the uncertainty? Good question. It will take some time to sort out the energy dilemma, but market forces are powerful and, ultimately, high prices will result in more supply and/or alternative energy forces. The reality is, however, that the short term will be painful in the form of high prices and short supplies.....

I actually didn't plan to go into this much depth and I haven't even touched manyh of the misconceptions that the average person has about the petroleum industry, but enough is enough. Thank goodness, I at least had enough sense to stay away from misconceptions about lubricants :).

Regards,

Lee
 

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Lee,

Good information. I actually found it interesting to read the info from an 'insiders' view.

I've heard that no new (from the ground up) refining capacity has been built in the US for something like 20 or 25 years. Do you know if this is truth? If so, other than the environmental lobby (PC term), what other factors have blocked that? But what about the expansion of refining capacity? (i.e. expansion of existing facilities). How much has it grown (% or bbl/day) in the past 20 years?

What's your information on the north slope? Again, I've read or seen something that there is not (or may not be) as much oil there as thought? Is there really enough to make it worth the environmental cost (and, what, exactly, are those costs? Dead reindeer or whatever or just some local displacement while roads go in and during drilling?) to make the oil worth getting, and will it make a real difference to supply?

While on the topic, how come the car makers can't crank out the number of hybrids that seem to be in demand? (A side note: I was doing some more major work on my wife's 96 Suburban with 220k miles this summer and decided to look at a new one, we do lots of towing the dirt bikes and stuff, the dealer only had a few certain models and would not look to find one without 4x4, xm, etc that i didn't want. Sounds like the demand side is broken by the dealer only ordering what sells, but only sells what he orders. Has _anyone_ ordered a vehicle to spec in the past 15 years?)

Thanks,

J.
 

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Jason,

I ordered a '99 F-250 Crew cab to spec. For that, I went through the fleet side of the dealership.

Spec ordered my wife's Jeep in 2002 with a one of the regular salesmen.

You need to tell them, "I'm the buyer. You order what I want of I go somewhere else." It is YOUR money after all.

JM2CW.
 

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bmwjason said:
Sounds like the demand side is broken by the dealer only ordering what sells, but only sells what he orders. Has _anyone_ ordered a vehicle to spec in the past 15 years?
I haven't bought a single vehicle I didn't spec out since I started buying new 20 years ago.

Three vehicles ago, after I made clear to my salesman that I didn't want to "make do" with in-stock vehicles without the options I wanted, he got serious about hitting the electronic inventories to see whether "my" vehicle was already available on another dealer's lot, rather than placing a factory order. Funny thing -- with a bit of digging, he found exactly what I wanted. And at "dealer cost" (an inaccurately-named, but nonetheless useful measure of "the deal").

Now that I've found a professional sales person (not one of the career-transient hacks), I've giving him the opportunity to do the same thing two more times -- and he's done it: exactly my odd-ball lists of options and colors, and at or below "dealer cost" both times. So. my take is that a knowledgeable, motivated sales professional will get the job done. A salesman responding to his own desires or trying to "work" you into accepting what *he* wants to sell, won't. The latter won't get a second chance after I walk away from him.
 

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Lee,

So I was pretty darned close?? ;)

You seem to really know what you are talking about, so let me ask you this...
I heard that Chevron buys most all of thier oil from Saudi Arabia and that S.A., in accordance with some past agreement with our administration, has not raised the price of a barrell of crude in several decades. This is one of those conspiracy theories that has been going around for a long time which would indicate many scarry things.
I can understand if you refrain from answering due to some non-disclosure agreement somewhere in your past. ;)
 

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mneblett said:
Au contraire, mon ami! :) The Exxon stations are starting to get SpeedPass-enabled pumps -- most around here have it, and the two Exxons I hit coming up I-81 from Iron Horse did, too.

Having snagged Mobil's license to the patents on SpeedPass, Exxon apparently wants to get it deployed asap to help differentiate themselves from Shell, etc. -- happy to see it, as it's nice to be able to just whip it out of the oddments compartment, and not have to go rummaging around for the wallet to find a conventional card.
I fully agree, Mark. I guess it just hasen't happened in the northeast, yet.
 

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In response to a question from Macker:

Conspiracy theories.... gotta love 'em. Yes, Chevron and many other refiners import oil from Saudi Arabia. The Saudi's are the largest producing country in the world, so this shouldn't be surprising. It is common for U.S. refineries to run Arab Light (AL) or Arab Medium or even heavier crudes depending on their processing schemes. Crude is generally classified based on gravity and sulfur content. All crude is not created equal. Heavier, higher sulfur crudes are more difficult and costly to process and crude prices vary. The Saudi's produce several different types of crude oil. No, there is not some unknown agreement for the Saudi government to hold prices constant. The Saudi's are a loud and powerful voice in OPEC (Oil Producing Exporting Countries) and they change prices frequently to the U.S. and any other nation that buys their oil.

In response to bmwjason:

I don't have those growth statistics off the top of my head, but I will tell you that almost all U.S. refinery capacity growth has come from add on projects in existing facilities, rather than new refineries. Northslope or ANS (Alaska North Slope) as it's called in the industry is indeed beginning to dry up (as will any finite resource). Not too many years back, most West Coast refineries relied predominantly on ANS. Over the last few years, West Coast refiners have moved fewer barrels ANS down and begun to rely on Middle Eastern and other crudes.

A good source for this type of information is the American Petroleum Institute website. The API is a widely recognized U.S. trade group. Are they biased? Of course they are biased; they wouldn't exist without their members. However, their statistics are reliable and accurate.

Regarding hybrid cars, as a 27 year oil company retiree, I'm not qualified to comment on why supply is insufficient for the demand. However, as an adjunct college economics professor, I would hypothesize that high fuel prices created an immediate and unforeseen demand for hybrids and the OEM's are simply playing catch up.

Regards,

Lee
 

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Gas

I find that my bike likes BP/Amoco better.....to the tune of about 2 mpg....

I was using the Chevron and have been a Chevron fan but.....my LT prefers Amoco.....(it told me) ;)

anyway....for whatever its worth...
 
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