My Call to ConocoPhillips, pt. II

So I called ConocoPhillips last Thursday morning, which was basically the weekend, as were the first two days of this week, you know, decompressing and all, and then you spend Wednesday-Thursday playing catch-up, but now it’s Friday, and it’s the weekend again. I’ve worked in enough offices to know that there’s that brief Wednesday afternoon/Thursday morning window where you actually perform your tasks like returning those phone calls you’d rather not, and I’d wager, when you’re in “External Communications,” you’re expected to return plenty.

So I empathize and sympathize with Ms. Hansen at ConocoPhillips. Thus I gave her an out in my follow-up “still looking forward to speaking with you” call today—as in, gee, if there’s someone better I should talk to, please let me know! I give every corporate workingstiff the chance to pass the buck. But only once. Should she choose to bump me to another department, then that’s where I’ll be sending the singing telegrams. So choose wisely, Ms. Hansen!

Get Your Facts Straight!

Unocal has not made gasoline since it sold its refining assets to TOSCO in 1997, at which point the Unocal part of the "Unocal 76" brand was dropped and TOSCO began marketing gasoline under the 76 brand. Note that the gasoline was coming from the same refineries - it was the same gasoline, that is until TOSCO stopped using MTBE, making its gasoline more environmentally friendly.

Similarly, in 2001, Phillips Petroleum Company purchased TOSCO and, along with it, the 76 brand. And again in 2002, when Conoco and Phillips merged to form ConocoPhillips, the 76 brand was part of the deal.

In 2004, ConocoPhillips decided to make the gasoline BETTER by increasing the level of detergent additives in all of its brands - including the 76 brand. So, your statement that Unocal 76 makes a better, cleaner burning, more environmentally friendly gasoline is categorically false. The gasoline that ConocoPhillips markets under the 76 brand is more environmentally friendly and better for your car than the gasoline that was marketed by Unocal.

Union 76 vs. Unocal 76 - rebuttal

None of that seems correct to me. Union Oil Company/Union 76 BECAME Unocal Corporation/Unocal 76 in 1985 - the Unocal name did not exist prior to that, and they did not co-exist after the rebranding period. Once Unocal spun off its retail and marketing operations to Tosco, the Unocal station signs came down and were replaced by generic 76 signs, the Unocal language in printed literature (i.e., credit card applications) was replaced by Union, and Union 76 billboards reappeared at Richmond International Raceway. If you know of any stations still going by Unocal 76 in terms of signage, support and everything else (not by what they're listed in phone books, because many station names were never formally updated at that level), I would like to see photographic evidence of this.

Union 76 vs. Unocal 76

When Union Oil Company of California began putting up gas stations they had two different names. Union 76 and Unocal 76. ConocoPhillips later purchased all of the Union 76 stations. They have now changed the classic orange to a red and the navy blue to a midnight blue color. I believe it is purely a marketing ploy to give it a more contemporary look while also continuing to pull in loyal Unocal 76 customers. In my opinion, I like that the Union 76 stations are different. Unocal makes a cleaner and more envrionmentally-friendly refined gasoline product (which increases your gas mileage) than ConocoPhillips now that Union 76 stations pump CP gas. If you have noticed, many UNOCAL 76 stations have still kept their iconic 76 ball although their are very few Unocal 76 stations left, and now that Unocal has been bought out by Chevron who knows what will happen.