Fuel Costs Drive Verc from Exxon to Gulf

Verc Enterprises, a Duxbury, Mass. company with 20 c-stores in the New England area, is planning to convert its Exxon stations to the Gulf brand by the end of this year. The move is being made to get a better wholesale deal on fuel, Verc CEO Leo Vercollone said.

"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. Gulf acquired from ExxonMobil the exclusive rights to the Exxon brand name in 2004 across 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, said Gulf Oil CEO Joseph Petrowski, and the company is asking independent retailers to switch immediately.

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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