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Union 76

    Union 76 is a chain of gas stations located within the United States. The Union 76 brand is currently owned by ConocoPhillips. Union Oil Company of California, dba Unocal, the original owner and creator of the Union 76 brand merged with Chevron Corporation in 2005.

In 1997, Unocal sold its western United States refining and marketing operations and the rights to the Union 76 brand for use in refining and marketing operations to Tosco Corporation. Tosco has since been purchased by Phillips Petroleum, which merged with Conoco to form ConocoPhillips. Unocal continued to own the "76" trademark for use in its operations, with the exception of the divested Refining and Marketing business. On August 10, 2005, Unocal Corporation and Union Oil Company of California were acquired and merged into a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation.

Unlike many other petroleum companies, Union 76 uses ethanol instead of MTBE as an oxygenate in their gasoline.

76, Conoco, and Phillips 66 currently market their brand of gasoline under the brand name PROclean. The previous brand name for their gasoline was Propower, 76 gasoline stopped being marketed under this name after the termination of the commercial relationship between NASCAR and 76. As of October 2004, PROclean brand fuel was included onto the list of fuels recognized as "Top Tier".

In the 1970s and '80s, the company used the slogan "Go With the Spirit...the Spirit of '76." In recent years, that has been shortened to simply "Get the Spirit".

The Orange Ball

Union 76 is famous for its signs, which are large orange balls with '76' written in blue on them. Many stations had the 76 ball rotate when the signs were lit up. The first such sign was designed in 1962 by advertising creative director Ray Pedersen for the Seattle World's Fair.

In 2005, new corporate owners ConocoPhillips began a rebranding campaign to unify the design elements of each of the merged brands (76, Phillips, and Conoco). As a part of this rebranding, there was an initial decision to pull down all the Orange Ball signs and replace them with monument-style signs in the red and blue color scheme. ConocoPhillips has partially backtracked on this decision recently, agreeing to donate the classic Orange style 76 balls to museums and to erect 100 spheres in the new red and blue color scheme.

In the popular film The Lost World: Jurassic Park, a T-Rex knocks the 76 ball off the sign pole in San Diego, causing it to roll through the filling station, nearly crushing Ian Malcolm's Pontiac GTO.

The Union 76 ball is a very popular logo in the "Cult Style" of European car tuning, and is also used on many clothing items in Japan as of 2005.

Until 2004, several large Union 76 balls were located at the Daytona International Speedway. They were actually used as observation vantage points, had portholes, and were capable of holding a few people inside. One of these "balls" was given to the owner of Brumos Motor Cars in Jacksonville, FL, and now sits atop a building on the premises.

The Union 76 ball is also a landmark at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, where the only gas station on the premises of a major league ballpark is visible from the park beyond the outfield stands.

Long before Jack in the Box restaurants created their well-known 'Jack's Head' promotional radio antenna toppers, the orange 76 ball invented the concept. Beginning in 1967, tens of millions were made and distributed by Union 76. These were extremely popular, primarily in the Greater Los Angeles area, where they are still frequently seen.

Chicago-based rock band Urge Overkill based their UO icon on the company's logo, and their 1990 album Americruiser contains a song entitled "76 Ball."

In the hit skating game Tony Hawk's American Wasteland, there is a gas station called Union 69, and its logo is a green ball with a blue 69 on it. This is a direct parody of Union 76.

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Union_76". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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