Verc Converting Exxon Stations to Gulf Brand

Verc Enterprises, a Duxbury, Mass. company with 20 c-stores in the New England area, is planning to convert its Exxon-branded stations to the Gulf brand by the end of this year, The (Mass.) Enterprise reported.

The company is making the move to help lower its gas price for consumers, Verc CEO Leo Vercollone told The Enterprise.

“I think Exxon is a more premium brand, but consumers are looking for the least cost to them,” Vercollone said. “Purchasing gasoline is becoming more of a commodity value proposition.”

The wholesale price of Gulf gas is about 2 cents to 7 cents cheaper per gallon than Exxon.

The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority announced last summer it was re-branding the gas stations at 11 rest stops along the Massachusetts Turnpike to the Gulf name. Gulf Oil CEO Joseph Petrowski said consumers can expect many more transitions in the months to come.

Less than five years ago, Gulf acquired from ExxonMobil the exclusive rights to the Exxon brand name in all six New England states and New York, which will last through February 2010. After that, the Exxon brand is supposed to disappear from that region.

However, Gulf has decided to stop distributing the Exxon brand by February 2009, Petrowski said, and the company is currently asking independent retailers to switch immediately.

“The Exxon name would go dark (in New England),” Petrowski said. “So we figured why invest time and effort in developing (Exxon) when, frankly, we had a brand (Gulf) that was five times better?”

Verc plans to convert 14 stations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The company’s five Mobil-branded stations, which are affiliated directly with ExxonMobil, will not be affected.

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