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Sunoco Inc
Public (NYSE: SUN)
Founded1886 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA)
HeadquartersPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Key peopleJohn Drosdick, CEO & Chairman
IndustryOil & Gas operations
Revenue$36.08 billion USD (2006)

Sunoco (NYSE: SUN) is an American petroleum and petrochemical manufacturer headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, formerly known as Sun Company Inc..

In Canada, Sunoco is operated by Suncor Energy, a separate Canadian entity. Sunoco is a Fortune 100 Company. It is also the biggest company based in Philadelphia and the 2nd biggest in Pennsylvania behind AmerisourceBergen.


The integrated oil company now known as Sunoco began as The Peoples Natural Gas Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1886, its partners—Joseph Newton Pew, Philip Pisano (see The Pew Charitable Trusts) and Edward O. Emerson—decided to expand their gas business with a stake in the new oil discoveries in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Four years later, the growing enterprise became the Sun Oil Company of Ohio. Sun Oil diversified quickly, active in production and distribution of oil as well as processing and marketing refined products. By 1901, the company was incorporated in New Jersey as Sun Company and turned its interest to the new Spindletop field in Texas. Pew's sons, J. Howard Pew and Joseph N. Pew, Jr. would take over the company after their father's death.

With a growing portfolio of oil fields and refineries in hand, Sun opened its first service station in Ardmore, Pennsylvania in 1920. The name changed back to Sun Oil Company in 1922 and, in 1925, Sun became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. Following World War II, Sun expanded internationally. Its first Canadian refinery was built in 1953 in Sarnia, Ontario, home to a burgeoning new petrochemical industry. Sun established a facility at Venezuela's Lake Maracaibo in 1957, which produced over a billion barrels (160,000,000 m³) before the operation was nationalized in 1975.

Sun is perhaps best known to consumers for its "custom blending" pumps, an innovation that, in 1956, allowed customers of Sunoco service stations to choose from several octane grades through a single pump. Sunoco stations offered as many as eight grades of "Custom Blended" gasolines from its "Dial A Grade" pumps ranging from subregular Sunoco 190 to Sunoco 260, the latter a super-premium grade of 102 octane that was advertised as the "highest octane pump gas" and very popular with the 400 horsepower (298 kW) musclecars of that era.

In 1967, Sun established its Great Canadian Oil Sands Limited facility in northern Alberta, Canada, to help unlock the estimated 300 billion barrels (48 km³) of recoverable oil in the Athabasca oil sands.

In 1968, Sun Oil merged with Tulsa, Okla.-based Sunray DX Oil Company, which refined and marketed gasoline under the DX brand in several midwestern states, and included several refineries including one in Tulsa that is still operated by Sun to the present day. This move expanded Sun's marketing area into the mid-continent region.

Sun Oil continued marketing its petroleum products under both the Sunoco and DX brands through the 1970s and into the 1980s. In the late 1980s, Sun began rebranding DX stations in the Midwest to the Sunoco brand and even introduced the high-octane Sunoco ULTRA 94 gasoline to stations in that region, but by the early 1990s, they pulled out virtually all areas in the southeastern US and west of the Mississippi, resulting in the closing and rebranding of service stations and jobbers to other brands in those areas, notably Sinclair in Oklahoma.

With increased diversification, Sun Oil Company was renamed Sun Company in 1976. In 1980, Sun acquired the U.S. oil and gas properties of Texas Pacific Oil Company, Inc., a subsidiary of The Seagram Company, Ltd., for US$2.3 billion -- the second largest acquisition in U.S. history to that date.

Through the 1980s, Sun developed oil interests in the North Sea and offshore China and expanded its holdings in both oil and coal with additional U.S. business acquisitions. In 1983, consumers saw the arrival of Sunoco ULTRA 94, the market's highest octane unleaded gasoline. Then in 1988, Sun undertook a major restructuring to segregate its domestic oil and gas exploration and production business and the focus the company on its refining and marketing business. This led to the acquisition of Atlantic Refining and Marketing (which, in effect acquired that company's convenience store chain, A-Plus), including its Philadelphia refinery which was later merged with the former Gulf Oil refinery right next door that Sunoco acquired from Chevron.

By the 1990s, Sun had departed the international exploration business and was fully dedicated to its branded products and services. Sun sold its remaining interest in Canada's Suncor Energy in 1995, but jointly operate two refineries in Toledo, Ohio, and Sarnia, Ontario, in joint ventures.[2] The "Sunoco" became central to the company in 1998 when Sun Company, Inc. became Sunoco, Inc.

In 2003, the Speedway SuperAmerica chain of gas stations and convenience stores exited the southeast United States and sold most of their operations to Sunoco. Shortly prior to this, Sunoco acquired many service stations from Coastal Petroleum, especially its stations in Florida. This has led to the reintroduction of the Sunoco brand to areas it pulled out of several years earlier.

In 2004, Sunoco replaced ConocoPhillips' 76 brand as the official fuel of NASCAR.

After ConocoPhillips abandoned the marketing of the Mobil brand name in the Washington, DC, area, Sunoco purchased these rights, and has since been converting Maryland and Virginia Mobil stations to the Sunoco brand, bringing the A-Plus convenience store with them (these stations before had convenience stores under the Circle K or On the Run brands). Most of the conversions done so far have been in Virginia.

  • In the novel The Outsiders, and in the film version, Sodapop Curtis works at a DX Gas Station in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • Sunoco is the only major gasoline retailer to sell four grades of gasoline in the U.S.: Regular (octane grade 87), Plus (89), Premium (91), and ULTRA 93. (Sun is currently in the process of removing 94 from stations and making it ULTRA 93 instead). Sunoco also once sold Economy unleaded, an 86 octane slightly cheaper than regular, in all of its markets until the mid-1990s when it was withdrawn from Pennsylvania and a handful of other states, and was phased out altogether in 2003.
  • Sunoco is one of the few oil companies that currently uses ethanol systemwide, which is currently being phased in at other oil companies, to comply with federal laws.
  • In addition to their sponsorship deal with NASCAR, Sunoco also has exclusive deals as the gasoline supplier at the travel plazas along the Pennsylvania Turnpike & New Jersey Turnpike. Sunoco also served the Ohio Turnpike until 2007 when Valero took over operations. In addition, Sunoco also owns & operates a station with an A-Plus convenience store at Pittsburgh International Airport, as Sunoco has a very large market share in Pittsburgh.

Environmental record

Among oil corporations, Sunoco and BP are listed as the most environmentally responsible in the latest version of the Sierra Club's Updated Environmentalist's Guide to Gasoline[1]. Sunoco is also the only oil company to sign the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) principal and as part of this agreement, Sunoco has made all of its environmental activities -- both successes and failures -- publicly available.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have identified Sunoco as the 55th-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States, with roughly 1.7 million pounds of toxic chemicals released annually into the air.[2] Major pollutants indicated by the study include nickel compounds, naphthalene, aniline, and benzene. [3]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Political Economy Research Institute Toxic 100 (Study released May 11, 2006) retrieved 17 Aug 2007
  3. ^ Toxics Release Inventory courtesy

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  This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sunoco". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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