There are approximately 105,500 gas stations in America. Yet just 10 companies have a hammerlock on the industry. They own over half the stations in country. Seven are branded by large oil companies, although in many cases, they do not own the businesses or their locations.
According to industry publication CSP Daily, this is the breakout:
|Rank||Brand||Station count||Market share|
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) is the second largest company in America and the world’s largest oil company. Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) is the third largest company in the United States. Valero Corp. (NYSE: VLO) is among the world’s largest refiners. Sunoco L.P. (NYSE: SUN) is one of North America’s largest owners of stations and convenience stores. BP PLC (NYSE: BP) is among the world’s oil behemoths. Shell is the U.S. branch of oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS-A).
It makes some sense that the largest oil companies and refineries should control the distribution of one of their most widely used products. However, the distribution does not necessarily come with ownership. Exxon Mobil sold off its Exxon and Mobil stations in 2008 and the new owners maintained the brands. Exxon decided that its skills in exploration and production did not mean it was a good operator of a retail business.