FRAMINGHAM, Mass. ï¿½" When Gulf Oil LP purchased nationwide rights to the Gulf brand from Chevron last year, the Gulf name had been fading from national prominence, the Patriot Ledger reports. When Gulf Oil inked sponsorships with the Baltimore Orioles and the Atlanta Braves last February, no Gulf gasoline stations existed in Maryland or Georgia.
What a difference a year makes. Gulf Oil had only been in 11 Northeast states prior to the deal, but 12 months later, Gulf gasoline stations are in 23 states, with plans to expand to Texas and Florida. The number of Gulf stations jumped more than 10 percent to reach close to 2,310 from 2010 to 2011, with an additional 180 stations switching to the Gulf brand soon.
The Cumberland Gulf Group, which runs Gulf Oil and the Cumberland Farms convenience store chain, bought Gulfï¿½ï¿½s Northeast assets from Chevron in 1986. Chevron, which acquired the brand in a merger, allowed the Gulf name to vanish from gas stations in other U.S. states.
Gulf Oil had been trying for several years to buy the rights to the Gulf name from Chevron, but were not successful until last year, said Rick Dery, chief marketing officer for Gulf Oil. After the purchase, gasoline station owners called about converting to Gulf distributors, he said.
NACS spokesman Jeff Lenard said the re-emergence of the Gulf name nationwide could be a boost for the brand because of its widespread name recognition among baby boomers in particular. The name also doesnï¿½ï¿½t conjure the negative connotations that some of the bigger national gasoline companies have acquired in recent years.