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Texaco ("The 'Texas Company") is the name of an Americanmarker oil retail brand. Its flagship product is its fuel,"Texaco with Techron". It also owns the Havoline motor oil brand.

Texaco was an independent company until it merged into Chevron Corporation in 2001. It began as the Texas Fuel Company, founded in 1901 in Beaumont, Texasmarker, by Joseph S. Cullinan, Thomas J. Donoghue, Walter Benona Sharp, and Arnold Schlaet upon discovery of oil at Spindletopmarker. For many years, Texaco was the only company selling gasoline in all 50 states, but this is no longer true. Its logo features a white star in a red circle (a reference to the lone star of Texasmarker), leading to the long-running advertising jingles "You can trust your car to the man who wears the star" and "Star of the American Road." The company was headquartered in Harrison, New Yorkmarker, near White Plainsmarker, prior to the merger.

Texaco gasoline comes with Techron, an additive developed by Chevron, as of 2005, replacing the previous CleanSystem3. The Texaco brand is strong in the United States, Latin America and West Africa. It has a presence in Europe as well; for example, it is a well-known retail brand in the UK, with around 1,100 Texaco-branded service stations.

The current CEO is David J. O'Reilly.


  • 1911 – Texaco purchased from owner of the Red Star Oil Company, one Mr. Dawkins.
  • 1928 – Texaco became the first U.S. oil company to sell its gasoline nationwide under one single brand name in all 48 states (50 states after Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union in 1959).
  • 1931 – The Texas Company (Texaco's corporate name) purchased Indian Oil Company, based in Illinois, a move that expanded Texaco's refining and marketing base in the Midwest and also gave Texaco the rights to Indian's manufacturing processes of Havoline "Wax Free" motor oil, which became a Texaco product and provided the company with a higher quality motor oil product.
  • 1932 – Texaco introduced Fire Chief gasoline nationwide, a motor fuel that met the octane requirements for fire engines, and promoted it through a radio program over NBC that was hosted by Ed Wynn the "Texaco Fire Chief."
  • 1936 - Texaco begins supplying the Nationalist rebels in Spain with oil, and continues to do so for the duration of the war, delivering some 3.5 million barrels.
  • 1937 – Texaco commissioned industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague to develop a modern service station design. The resulting "Teague" Texaco station design was a functional white building with green trimmings featuring one or more service bays for "Washing", "Marfak Lubrication", etc., an office area with large plate glass window for display of tires, batteries and accessories along with "Men" and "Ladies" restrooms featuring Texaco-green tile walls and floors. The Teague station design was typically built of white porcelain tile but local and regional variations could include painted brick, concrete brick and stucco materials. Other features included red Texaco stars on the upper facade on outer sidewalls and above the service bays, and red lettering spelling out "TEXACO" above the office area. Stations were identified by the street from Texaco's "banjo" sign.
  • 1938 – Texaco introduced Sky Chief gasoline, a premium grade fuel developed from the ground up as a high-octane gasoline rather than just an ethylized regular product. Sky Chief was dispensed from a silver gas pump in contrast with the red pump used for Fire Chief gasoline - a move that would last many years until the early 1960s.
  • 1939 – Texaco became one of the first oil companies to introduce a "Registered Rest Room" program to ensure that restroom facilities at all Texaco stations nationwide maintained a standard level of cleanliness to the motoring public. The company hired a staff of inspectors who traveled from station to station periodically to ensure that restrooms were up to standard. The "Registered Rest Room" program was later copied by other oil companies and continued at Texaco until the energy crises of the 1970s.
  • 1940 - Torkild Rieber, CEO, is led to resign when his connections with Germany are made public
  • 1941 – Texaco introduced a "24-hour" station program for selected outlets along major highways during the summer months, to help ensure that motorists driving at night were no more than a tankful away from a Texaco station.
  • 1947 – Texaco merged its Britishmarker operation with Trinidad Leaseholds under the name Regent; it gained full control of Regent in 1956, but the Regent brand remained in use until 1968-9.
  • 1954 – To meet the needs of modern automobiles with higher power engines, Texaco upgrades Sky Chief gasoline by adding Petrox as a new additive to increase octane ratings to levels similar to aviation fuel of World War II vintage.
  • 1959 – The Texas Company changes its corporate name to Texaco, Inc. to better reflect the value of the Texaco brand name, which represented the biggest selling gasoline brand in the U.S. and only marketer selling gasoline under one brand name in all 50 states.
  • 1959 – Texaco acquires McColl-Frontenac Oil Company Ltd. of Canada and changes its name to Texaco Canada Ltd.
  • Late 1950s – Bought Paragon Oil, a major fuel oil distribution company in the northeastern United States.
  • 1961 – Texaco introduces the "The Man who wears the Star" campaign with the "Texaco Star Theme" written by W.A. Fredricks. The radio jingle (as of 1961), went as follows:
  • :
Both Fire Chief and Sky Chief gasolines are promoted as "Climate Controlled" as various blends of both gasolines are distributed to Texaco stations in various parts of the country.
  • 1964 – Texaco introduces the "Matawan" service station design at a station in Matawan, New Jerseymarker. Features include mansard roofing design, service bays moved to the side of station and sheetrock covering over most exterior walls.
  • 1966 – Texaco replaces the long-running banjo sign with a new hexagon logo that had previously been test-marketed with the "Matawan" station design introduced two years earlier. The new logo featured red outline with TEXACO in black bold lettering and small banjo logo with red star and green T at bottom. Texaco also enters agreement with Howard Johnson's for Texaco credit card to be honored for charging of lodging and food at Howard Johnson motor lodges, a widespread trend of the time among major oil companies that would last until the 1973 oil crisis.
  • 1967 – Regent name replaced by Texaco at Britishmarker petrol stations.
  • 1970 – In response to increasingly stringent federal emission standards that would ultimately lead to mandating of unleaded gasoline in 1975 and later-model cars and trucks, Texaco introduced Lead-free Texaco as the first regular-octane lead-free gasoline at stations in the Los Angelesmarker area and throughout Southern California. Lead-free Texaco would become available nationwide in 1974, in time for the introduction of 1975-model vehicles.
  • 1978 – Texaco Canada Ltd. merges with Texaco Explorations Canada Ltd. to form Texaco Canada Inc.
  • 1980 – Texaco replaces Sky Chief gasoline, a leaded premium grade, with new Super Lead-free Sky Chief. Following an industry trend of oil companies retrenching from operating service stations nationwide by pulling out of marginally-profitable or unprofitable regions that began with the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, Texaco also ends its 50-year-plus commitment to 50-state marketing of gasoline by pulling out of Montanamarker and several other states in the North Central and Midwestern U.S.
  • November 21, 1980 – Lake Peigneur/Jefferson Island disastermarker
  • 1982 – Texaco replaces 1966-vintage hexagon logo with a new rendition of the old banjo sign in red and white featuring the star and "T". The new service station design emphasizes use of dark colors including, black, red and gray. Gasoline products receive name changes with the advent of self-service including Lead-free Texaco to Texaco Unleaded, Fire Chief to Texaco Regular, and Super Lead-free Sky Chief to Texaco Super Unleaded.
  • 1984 – Bought Getty Oil (including Tidewater Petroleum). The Getty name and stations in the Northeastern United States were sold to Power Test and are now owned by Lukoil. Getty's Skelly stations in several Midwestern states rebranded as Texaco stations, including a few states in which Texaco returned after withdrawing a few years earlier.
  • 1985 – On November 19, Pennzoil (represented by famous litigator Joe Jamail) won a US$10.53 billion verdict from Texaco in the largest civil verdict in US history (Texaco established a signed contract to buy Getty Oil after Pennzoil entered into an unsigned, yet still binding, buyout contract with Gordon Getty). To obtain the billions required to pay the verdict, Texaco sold 50% of its interests in marketing east of the Mississippi and Texas and its three Gulf Coast refineries to Saudi Aramco, which in turn formed a holding company called Saudi Refining that held the 50% ownership in the new venture called Star Enterprise . Texaco also withdrew from marketing gasoline in the Chicagomarker area by selling its service stations and distribution facilities to Mobil in an exchange agreement for which Texaco acquired former Mobil outlets in the Oklahoma Citymarker area.
  • 1987 – Texaco files for bankruptcy; company continues trading under protection of U.S. bankruptcy laws.
  • 1989 – Texaco sells its Canadian refining and marketing operations to Imperial Oil, the Canadian subsidiary of Exxon Corp. In most areas of Canada, service stations rebranded from Texaco to Esso. (Locations in the Maritimes were acquired separately by Ultramar, and in Newfoundland and Labradormarker by Great Eastern Oil, now owned by North Atlantic Refining.)
  • 1989 – Texaco introduces System3 gasolines in all three grades of fuel, featuring the latest detergent additive technology to improve performance by reducing deposits that clog fuel injection systems.
  • 1993 – Several dozen tribal leaders and residents from the Ecuadoranmarker Amazon file a billion-dollar class-action lawsuit against Texaco, as a result of massive ecological pollution of the area and rivers around Texaco's Ecuadorian off-shore drilling sites, causing toxic contamination of approximately 30,000 residents.
  • 1994 – Texaco's System3 gasolines replaced by new CleanSystem3 gasolines for improved engine performance.
  • 1995 - Texaco merges its Danish and Norwegian downstream operations with those of Norsk Hydromarker under the new brand HydroTexaco. This joint venture was sold in 2007 to Norwegian retail interests as YX Energi, following the purchase of Hydro by Statoilmarker.
  • 1996 – Texaco pays over $170 million to settle racial discrimination lawsuits filed by black employees at the company. It was the largest racial discrimination lawsuit settlement in the United States at the time, and was particularly damaging to Texaco's public relations when tapes were released containing ethnic slurs used repeatedly by company officers at high-level corporate meetings.
  • 1998 – Formed joint venture Equilon with Shell Oil Company, combining their Western and Midwestern U.S. refining and marketing. This gave rise to the 2006 U.S.marker Supreme Courtmarker antitrust case of Texaco Inc. v. Dagher, which cleared both Texaco and Shell of any antitrust liability concerning the pricing of Equilon's gasoline.
  • 1998 – Formed joint venture Motiva with Shell Oil Company and Saudi Aramco in which the Star Enterprise operations were merged with the Eastern and Gulf Coast U.S. refining and marketing operations of Shell.
  • 2001 – Chevron Corporation merges with Texaco. Shell purchases Texaco's interest in the Equilon and Motiva joint ventures.
  • 2002 - Shell Oil Company begins converting its Texaco stations to the Shell brand, a process expected to be complete by June 2004, "the largest retail re-branding initiative in American business history."
  • July 2004 – Chevron regains non-exclusive rights to the Texaco brand name in the U.S.
  • August 2005 – Texaco introduces the Techron additive into its fuels in the U.S. and parts of Latin America.
  • July 2006 – Chevron regains exclusive rights to the Texaco brand name in the U.S. and begins opening up gas stations across the U.S.
  • 2007 - Delek Benelux took over marketing activities for Chevron Global Energy Inc. in Benelux, including 869 filling stations, mostly under the Texaco brand.

Corporate headquarters

Prior to the merger, Texaco's headquarters, a 750,000-square-foot building, were in Harrison, New Yorkmarker, near White Plainsmarker. In 2002 Chevron sold the former Texaco headquarters to Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley bought the building and the surrounding 107 acres for $42 million.


Texaco is associated with the Havoline brand of motor oil and other automotive products. It is one of the sponsors of NASCAR with drivers like Davey Allison, Ernie Irvan, Ricky Rudd, Jamie McMurray, and Casey Mears. Texaco last sponsored Car 42, driven by Juan Pablo Montoya. Havoline has sponsored a NASCAR race car continuously since the early 1980s. At the end of the 2008 NASCAR season, Texaco Havoline officially ended their sponsorship with NASCAR and the Chip Ganassi Racing Team. This brings to a close a 20-plus year relationship with the sport. Texaco has also has also been involved in open wheel racing, sponsoring the Texaco Grand Prix of Houstonmarker along with sponsoring drivers like Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti and his son Michael.

Texaco was long associated with the Metropolitan Opera as sole sponsor of its radio broadcasts for 63 years. It was identified as well with such entertainment legends as Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Milton Berle (many of their shows were originally sponsored by Texaco - see Texaco Star Theatre, which includes the sponsorship lyrics of the opening theme: "We're the men of Texaco, We work from Maine to Mexico..."). Berle's program was broadcast in the same time slot as Fulton J. Sheen's religious program for a while, thus leading to Berle's oft-quoted quip, "We both have the same boss - Sky Chief!"

In 1958, Texaco became the sole sponsor of The Huntley-Brinkley Report on NBC-TV. The nightly newscast had had difficulty retaining sponsors since it first took the air in the fall of 1956.

In Latin America, Texaco sponsors Brazilian soccer superstar Ronaldinho. In West Africa, Texaco sponsors the soccer-based comic Supa Strikas.

Environmental issues

From 1965 to 1993, Texaco participated in a consortium to develop the Lago Agrio oil field in Ecuadormarker. It has been accused of extensive environmental damage from these operations, and faces legal claims from both private plaintiffs and the government of Ecuador. The case has been widely publicized by environmental activists and is the subject of Crude, a 2009 documentary film by Joe Berlinger. Chevron claims that it is being unfairly targeted as a deep pocket defendant, when the actual responsibility lies with the government and its national oil company.

The NiMH chemistry used in modern hybrid vehicles was invented by ECD Ovonics founder, Stan Ovshinksy, and Dr. Masahiko Oshitani of the Yuasa Company In 1994, General Motors acquired a controlling interest in Ovonics's battery development and manufacturing. On October 10, 2001, Texaco purchased GM's share in GM Ovonics, and Chevron completed its acquisition of Texaco six days later. In 2003, Texaco Ovonics Battery Systems was restructured into Cobasys, a 50/50 joint venture between Chevron and Energy Conversion Devices Ovonics. Chevron's influence over Cobasys extends beyond a strict 50/50 joint venture. Chevron holds a 19.99% interest in ECD Ovonics. In addition, Chevron maintains the right to seize all of Cobasys' intellectual property rights in the event that ECD Ovonics does not fulfill its contractual obligations. On September 10, 2007, Chevron filed a legal claim that ECD Ovonics has not fulfilled its obligations. ECD Ovonics disputes this claim. Since that time, the arbitration hearing was repeatedly suspended while the parties negotiate with an unknown prospective buyer. No agreement has been reached with the potential buyer. Cobasys's patents relating to NiMH batteries expire in 2015.

In her book, Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars that Will Recharge America, published in February 2007, Sherry Boschert argues that large-format NiMH batteries are commercially viable but that Cobasys refuses to sell or license them to small companies or individuals. Boschert argues that Cobasys accepts only very large orders for these batteries. When Boschert conducted her research, major auto makers showed little interest in large orders for large-format NiMH batteries. However, Toyota employees complained about the difficulty in getting smaller orders of large format NiMH batteries to service the existing 825 RAV-4EVs. Because no other companies were willing to make large orders, Cobasys was not manufacturing nor licensing any large format NiMH battery technology for automotive purposes. Boschert concludes that "it's possible that Cobasys (Chevron) is squelching all access to large NiMH batteries through its control of patent licenses in order to remove a competitor to gasoline. Or it's possible that Cobasys simply wants the market for itself and is waiting for a major automaker to start producing plug-in hybrids or electric vehicles."

In an interview with the Economist, Ovshinsky subscribed to the former view. "I think we at ECD we made a mistake of having a joint venture with an oil company, frankly speaking. And I think it’s not a good idea to go into business with somebody whose strategies would put you out of business, rather than building the business."

In December 2006, Cobasys and General Motors announced that they had signed a contract under which Cobasys provides NiMH batteries for the Saturn Aura hybrid sedan. In March 2007, GM announced that it would use Cobasys NiMH batteries in the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu hybrid as well.

In October 2007, International Acquisitions Services, Inc. and Innovative Transportation Systems AG filed suit against Cobasys and its parents for refusing to fill a large, previously agreed-upon order for large-format NiMH batteries to be used in the electric Innovan.

In August 2008, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc. filed suit against Cobasys claiming that Cobasys isn’t delivering the batteries it agreed to build for Mercedes-Benz’s planned hybrid SUV.

See also

  • Chevron Corporation
  • Caltex - joint venture between Texaco and Chevron, now a major international brand name of Chevron Corporation


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