Arco- Marathon?

Brian Lutz
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Re: Arco- Marathon?

Post by Brian Lutz »

Tonight while I was out and about, I saw that a former 76 station in Everett at the corner of Broadway and Pacific had been rebranded to Marathon, which is the first time I've ever seen that brand here in the Pacific Northwest. Apparently the change happened recently enough that the station isn't even located on Marathon's store locator, although that does list two stations in Bothell which show up as being Mobil branded if I look at them on Google Maps, and a handful of other stations scattered around the Puget Sound area. Given the fact that Marathon now owns a refinery in Anacortes (acquired from Andeavor) it wouldn't surprise me to see the brand become more prominent, although I believe BP still operates the Arco stations in the area.
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Re: Arco- Marathon?

Post by Alpha8472 »

Just months ago a few Marathon stations have appeared in cities around a Marathon refinery near me. Marathon took over a local refinery a few years ago. The Marathon gas brand is new to Northern California. The prices of gas are towards the low end, but not the cheapest. The gas pumps look new and the station has been remodeled. I like the changes and the colorful night lighting of the logo and station makes it very eye catching.

The Marathon gas station locator is strange. They list some Marathon stations and they also list Mobil branded gas stations. I visited some of them and they are branded as Mobil with no mention of Marathon. Perhaps Marathon supplies that gas to those stations and Marathon wants customers to patronize those Mobil stations to buy Marathon gas. Gas comes from the same refineries, but Mobil gas additives are added for the Mobil branded stations.
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Re: Arco- Marathon?

Post by Super S »

Alpha8472 wrote: June 5th, 2021, 3:11 am Just months ago a few Marathon stations have appeared in cities around a Marathon refinery near me. Marathon took over a local refinery a few years ago. The Marathon gas brand is new to Northern California. The prices of gas are towards the low end, but not the cheapest. The gas pumps look new and the station has been remodeled. I like the changes and the colorful night lighting of the logo and station makes it very eye catching.

The Marathon gas station locator is strange. They list some Marathon stations and they also list Mobil branded gas stations. I visited some of them and they are branded as Mobil with no mention of Marathon. Perhaps Marathon supplies that gas to those stations and Marathon wants customers to patronize those Mobil stations to buy Marathon gas. Gas comes from the same refineries, but Mobil gas additives are added for the Mobil branded stations.
Mobil once had a much bigger presence in the Pacific Northwest, then practically disappeared. In recent years I have seen Mobil pop up on a random station here and there (including a couple of former Albertsons gas stations), but I wouldn't say they have a strong presence.
Brian Lutz wrote: June 4th, 2021, 10:04 pm Tonight while I was out and about, I saw that a former 76 station in Everett at the corner of Broadway and Pacific had been rebranded to Marathon, which is the first time I've ever seen that brand here in the Pacific Northwest. Apparently the change happened recently enough that the station isn't even located on Marathon's store locator, although that does list two stations in Bothell which show up as being Mobil branded if I look at them on Google Maps, and a handful of other stations scattered around the Puget Sound area. Given the fact that Marathon now owns a refinery in Anacortes (acquired from Andeavor) it wouldn't surprise me to see the brand become more prominent, although I believe BP still operates the Arco stations in the area.
I find this interesting simply because 76 seems to be trying to re-establish itself in the Pacific Northwest.

There have been quite a few well-known names that have come and gone as brands on stations in this region...Amoco, Exxon, BP, and more recently Texaco seems to be fading away in favor of the Chevron brand.

I am not clear what the plans are for the Mobil brand, but in addition to Marathon I have also noticed a few stations being rebranded to Sinclair.

Will Marathon succeed in an area they have not operated stations in? Time will tell. It will be hard to establish a new brand when we have well-established brands such as Chevron/Texaco and Shell which generally have a reputation for quality fuel, Arco, which has a reputation for low prices and questionable quality, and the various retail chains that have branched in to selling gas, generally at lower prices, but in some cases the quality is inconsistent.
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Re: Arco- Marathon?

Post by storewanderer »

Brian Lutz wrote: June 4th, 2021, 10:04 pm Tonight while I was out and about, I saw that a former 76 station in Everett at the corner of Broadway and Pacific had been rebranded to Marathon, which is the first time I've ever seen that brand here in the Pacific Northwest. Apparently the change happened recently enough that the station isn't even located on Marathon's store locator, although that does list two stations in Bothell which show up as being Mobil branded if I look at them on Google Maps, and a handful of other stations scattered around the Puget Sound area. Given the fact that Marathon now owns a refinery in Anacortes (acquired from Andeavor) it wouldn't surprise me to see the brand become more prominent, although I believe BP still operates the Arco stations in the area.
76 is not a great brand (seems to have high station turnover and questionable standards, also very low % of transactions using the 76 card in the stations) but I am really surprised to see a 76 go to Marathon which so far on the west coast seems to have very limited standards.

Chevron and Shell are the top shelf brands out west, Chevron in particular with a high usage of Chevron branded cards in the stations; there is no question any station that can, will try to hold one of those two brands. These other brands- Valero especially, 76 to a lesser extent- do not get the best stations, have low usage of the company credit card, and do not have great control over the stations.

Marathon pulled Shell, Conoco, Chevron, and Mobil branding from hundreds of stations in Utah, Texas, Arizona, Northern California, Oregon, Washington and converted to either Speedway or Speedway Express. I am wondering if they found this was not such a great idea to lose those (high priced) brands.

Marathon will have a tough time establishing its brand out west. They are running a lot of Shell stations in SoCal still- will those stay Shell or will they try to shift to the Marathon brand? I think they would make more money staying Shell.

The Marathon Mobil stations are leftovers from the Tesoro program where they branded a ton of stations to Mobil. Again the logic was they could make more money branding the stations as Mobil than having the USA brand on the stations. Not many of those left anymore as most shifted to Speedway or Speedway Express; there are some pockets like Spokane.
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Re: Arco- Marathon?

Post by jamcool »

In the days when it was Union Oil, 76 used to be one of the premier service station operators in the West (including the truck stops that were nationwide). They were the last-along with Chevron-to operate traditional service stations. It all changed when Tosco (who owned Circle K at that time) bought the retail and refineries from Unocal, which ended up through a series of mergers being owned by Phillips 66. 76 is now just a brand of Phillips, along with P66, Conoco and Jet overseas.
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Re: Arco- Marathon?

Post by Brian Lutz »

In this area Shell and Chevron seem to be the most common brands (with Jackson's running the vast majority of the Shell stations), with 76 not too far behind and Arco a bit behind them. Most of the Jackson's Shell stations are reasonably well kept, but the other ones can be very inconsistent. Most of the Chevrons (and the few Texacos) are pretty nice as well. There also some very nice 76 stations to be found, but they seem to be more the exception than the rule. Store brands are also becoming more prominent with Safeway and Fred Meyer adding stations to a lot of their stores, and also a fair number of Costco locations with gas stations. At one point I know Safeway got their gas from the Shell refinery and one of the Chevron distributors supplied Costco gas, but I don't know if that's still the case. I believe the Fred Meyer gas is supplied by 76. What makes some of this odd is that Safeway has fuel discounts for Chevron stations and Fred Meyer\QFC has fuel discounts for Shell stations.
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Re: Arco- Marathon?

Post by SamSpade »

ARCO is no longer a member of the "TopTier" marketing group. The phrase is no where to be found, instead language reads
High quality at the pump -
ARCO gas is formulated to improve engine performance, maximize engine protection, and optimize your fuel economy.
Confusingly, they are still listed on the Top Tier website as a brand. Marathon websites still show that they include a higher level of STP branded additive and are certified TopTier.
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Re: Arco- Marathon?

Post by arizonaguy »

I heard a radio ad here in Phoenix today for ARCO where they touted "top tier" gas as well as the fact that they now accept credit cards.
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Re: Arco- Marathon?

Post by Alpha8472 »

ARCO has different websites for different regions. Some of the regions list Top Tier right on the front pages. ARCO Southwest advertises Top Tier gas.
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Re: Arco- Marathon?

Post by storewanderer »

Arco in NorCal/OR/WA no longer advertises itself as Top Tier Gas. So that is the BP-affiliated Arcos.

Arco in the other territories (the Tesoro territories) is still Top Tier.

I am surprised BP would drop the Top Tier affiliation. I think that was a somewhat important affiliation for Arco to have. Arco does not have the reputation of Chevron, etc. I never had any issues with Arco gas personally.
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