Many people have wondered how I got into my hobby of highways. The answer is simple: maps. Collecting maps at the local gas stations. From this, I got to know brands well, especially major Southern California brands such as Union, Standard (later Chevron), and Richfield. Richfield was a big brand out here in the west. They later merged with Atlantic Refining to create ARCO (which also included Sinclair Oil). Arco was later bought by BP, and the headquarters moved out of SoCal. I mention all of this because ARCO presence is about to shrink again in the Southern California landscape. BP announced plans to divest its Carson, California refinery and Southern California retail network in February 2011. The company intends to sell the refinery, associated businesses and the ARCO-branded retail network in 2012 as an on-going business. A number of prospective buyers have already expressed interest in the refinery and ARCO brand. There are about 920 ARCO-branded stations in Southern California operated by independent dealers and franchisees. Approximately 130 of these ARCO-branded retail sites were leased from Thrifty Oil Company. The OC Regiser is reporting that ARCO is letting the leases on these 130 stations expire and letting them revert back to Thrifty Oil (leaving the station owners hanging). This will also affect a number of other Thrifty stations that had been leasing through BP. Thrifty is going to release the land to Tesoro (who I believe markets 76), who is going to open them as USA Gasoline stations. Tesoro said in a statement it will lease 240 of the Arco sites from Thrifty Oil and will phase in the USA stations beginning this year. The move by BP has set off a firestorm of protest among the 106 Arco franchisees, many of whom own multiple stations and stand to lose their entire investment. About 2,000 Arco workers also will lose their jobs.
Music: Traditions 4 – The New Era (Santa Clara Vanguard): 2001: New Era Metropolis