Last updated
Exxon logo 2016.svg
Exxon Gas Station (34035531150).jpg
An Exxon-branded gas station in Utah in 2017.
Product type Gasoline
Convenience store
At some locations:
Diesel fuel
Car wash
Automobile repair shop
Owner ExxonMobil
CountryUnited States
IntroducedJanuary 1, 1973;48 years ago (1973-01-01) [1]
Related brands Enco/Esso
Website www.exxon.com

Exxon /ˈɛksɒn/ is the brand name of the oil and natural resources company Exxon Corporation which was, prior to 1972, known as Standard Oil Company of New Jersey. [2] In 1999, Exxon Corporation merged with Mobil to form ExxonMobil. The Exxon brand is still used by ExxonMobil's downstream operations as a brand for certain gas stations, motor fuel and related products (the highest concentration of which are located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas and in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states). Standard Oil Company of New Jersey was one of the Seven Sisters that dominated the global petroleum industry from the mid-1940s to the 1970s. [3]



Exxon Building (1251 Avenue of Americas), former headquarters of Exxon 1251 Avenue of the Americas.JPG
Exxon Building (1251 Avenue of Americas), former headquarters of Exxon

Exxon replaced the Esso, Enco, and Humble brands in the United States in 1973. [4] The Esso name was a trademark of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey and attracted protests from other Standard Oil spinoffs because of its phonetic similarity to the acronym of the name of the parent company, Standard Oil. As a result, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey was restricted from using Esso in the U.S., except in those states awarded to it in the 1911 Standard Oil antitrust settlement. [5]

In states where it was restricted from using the Esso name, the company marketed under the Humble or Enco brands. The Humble brand was used at Texas stations for decades, as those operations were under the direction of Standard Oil Company of New Jersey affiliate Humble Oil & Refining Company. In the middle to late 1950s, the use of the Humble brand spread to other southwestern states, including Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.

In 1959, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey secured full control of Humble Oil and restructured it into its U.S. marketing and refining division, to market nationwide under the Enco, Esso, and Humble brands. Enco was created as an acronym for the phrase "Energy Company". Humble introduced the Enco brand in 1960 in Oklahoma and surrounding states, to replace Humble's subsidiary Oklahoma and Pate brands. Humble also tried marketing under Enco in Ohio, but Standard Oil Company of Ohio (Sohio) protested that the Enco name and logo (a white oval with a blue border and red lettering) too closely resembled that of Esso. Consequently, stations in Ohio were rebranded as Humble and remained so until the Exxon brand came into use.

After the Enco brand was discontinued in Ohio, it was moved to other non-Esso states. In 1961, Humble stations in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas were rebranded to Enco. That same year, Enco appeared on former Carter stations in the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest.

In 1963, Humble Oil and Tidewater Oil Company began negotiating a sale of Tidewater's West Coast refining and marketing operations. The sale would have given Humble Oil many existing Flying A stations and distributorships, as well as a refinery in California, the nation's fastest-growing gasoline market. However, the Justice Department objected to the sale on anti-trust grounds. (In 1966, Phillips Petroleum Company bought Tidewater's western properties and rebranded all Flying A outlets to Phillips 66.)

Humble Oil continued to expand its West Coast operations, adding California to its marketing territory, building many new Enco stations, and rebranding others. In 1967, Humble Oil purchased all remaining Signal stations from Standard Oil Company of California (Chevron) and rebranded them as Enco outlets, greatly increasing Enco's presence in California. Finally, in 1969, Humble Oil opened a new refinery in Benicia, California.

In 1966, the U.S. Justice Department ordered Humble Oil to "cease and desist" from using the Esso brand at stations in several southeastern states, following protests from Standard Oil of Kentucky (Kyso), which was a Standard Oil of California subsidiary in the process of rebranding its Standard stations to Chevron. By 1967, Humble Oil's Esso stations in the Southeast were rebranded to Enco.

A mass spectrometer in use at an Exxon Research and Engineering Company analytical research laboratory in Baytown, Texas in 1974 Model 21-103 Mass Spectrometer in use at Exxon analytical research laboratory 1974.jpeg
A mass spectrometer in use at an Exxon Research and Engineering Company analytical research laboratory in Baytown, Texas in 1974

In the 1960s and early 1970s, Humble Oil continued to have difficulties promoting itself as a nationwide marketer of petroleum products, despite a number of high-profile marketing strategies. These included the popular "Put a Tiger in Your Tank" advertising campaign and accompanying tiger mascot created by American illustrator Bob Jones, [6] [7] to promote Enco Extra and Esso Extra gasolines. Humble Oil also used similar logotypes, use of the Humble name in all Enco and Esso advertising, and uniform designs for all stations regardless of brand. In addition, Humble Oil was a major promoter and broadcast sponsor for college football in the Pacific-8 (now Pac-12) and Southwestern conferences.

But Humble Oil still faced stiff competition from national brands such as Shell and Texaco, which at that time was the only company to market under one brand name in all 50 states. By the late 1960s, Humble officials realized that the time had come to develop a new brand name that could be used nationwide. At first, consideration was given to simply rebranding all stations as Enco, but that was shelved when it was learned that the word "Enco" is similar in pronunciation to the Japanese slang term enko, meaning "stalled car" (an abbreviation of enjin no kosho, "engine breakdown"). [8]

In 1972, Exxon was unveiled as the new, unified brand name for all former Enco and Esso outlets. At the same time, the company changed its corporate name from Standard Oil of New Jersey to Exxon Corporation. [5] The rebranding came after successful test-marketing of the Exxon name, under two experimental logos, in the fall and winter of 1971–1972. Along with the new name, Exxon settled on a rectangular logo using red lettering and blue trim on a white background, similar to the familiar color scheme on the old Enco and Esso logos.

The company initially planned to change its name to "Exon", in keeping with the four-letter format of Enco and Esso. However, during the planning process, it was noted that James Exon was the governor of Nebraska. Renaming the company after a sitting governor seemed ill-advised. George T. Piercy, a senior member of the board of directors suggested adding an X resulting in the new EXXON name.

The unrestricted international use of the popular Esso brand prompted Exxon to continue using it outside the U.S. Esso is the only widely used Standard Oil descendant brand left in existence. Others, such as Chevron, maintain a few Standard-branded stations in specific states in order to retain their trademarks, and prevent others from using them.

On March 24, 1989, in what is regarded as one of the worst oil spills in American history, [9] a tanker owned by Exxon, the Exxon Valdez, crashed into Bligh Reef, spilling its cargo of over ten million gallons of crude oil into the Prince William Sound in Alaska [10] and causing the deaths of hundreds of thousands of seabirds and sea mammals. [11] The ship was piloted by a captain with a history of drunk driving convictions, [12] and Exxon was ordered by a jury to pay punitive damages in the amount of $5 billion. This judgment was eventually reduced, after multiple appeals, to just $500 million by 2008. [13]

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, in July 2020, Exxon announced deep spending and job position cuts in order to save an 8% shareholder dividend. According to Reifinitiv Eikon data, the company experienced $2.63 billion loss and their shares were down by 35%. [14] Later in October 2020, Exxon released a statement which expanded on the planned cuts, stating that 15 percent of the company's global workforce would be fired over the next two years, including layoffs of 1,900 U.S. jobs, reducing the total global workforce by 14,000 employees. [15] In February 2021, Exxon announced that in 2020 it registered a lost of $22.4 billion adding that it was planning to invest $ 3 billion in the next 4 years. [16]

Exxon Office Systems

Under the guidance of its paid consultants at Boston Consulting Group, Exxon announced in the 1970s that it would compete against IBM and Xerox. The mantra was ‘Information Is the Oil of the 21st Century’. It launched Exxon Office Systems, which predictably failed, since "the giant oil company failed to fully realize the subtleties of managing small high-tech companies." In the early 1980s, Exxon retailed its fax machines and software through Sears. [17] Exxon announced the closure of the venture at the end of 1984. [18] [19]

Recent years

An Exxon gas station in Keller, Texas with a 7-Eleven convenience store that opened as an On The Run in 2001. ExxonGasKellerTX.jpg
An Exxon gas station in Keller, Texas with a 7-Eleven convenience store that opened as an On The Run in 2001.

In 1989, Exxon announced that it was moving its headquarters, including about 300 employees, from Manhattan, New York City to the Las Colinas area of Irving, Texas. Exxon sold the Exxon Building (1251 Avenue of the Americas), its former headquarters in Rockefeller Center, to a unit of Mitsui Real Estate Development Co. Ltd. in 1986 for $610 million. John Walsh, president of Exxon subsidiary Friendswood Development Company, stated that Exxon left New York because the costs were too high. [20] In 2009 Exxon partnered with Turner Ridge Capital Management to develop and finance their U.S. alternative energy infrastructure.[ citation needed ]

In 2016, ExxonMobil successfully asked a U.S. federal court to lift the aforementioned trademark injunction that banned it from using the Esso brand in various states. By this time, as a result of numerous mergers and rebranding, the remaining Standard Oil companies that previously objected to the Esso name had been acquired by BP. ExxonMobil cited trademark surveys in which there was no longer possible confusion with the Esso name as it was more than seven decades before. BP also had no objection to lifting the ban. [21] ExxonMobil did not specify whether they would now open new stations in the U.S. under the Esso name; they were primarily concerned about the additional expenses of having separate marketing, letterheads, packaging, and other materials that omit "Esso". [22]

Exxon's original logo, which began to be phased out in 2016. Exxon logo.svg
Exxon's original logo, which began to be phased out in 2016.

The rectangular Exxon logo, with the blue strip at the bottom and red lettering with the two 'X's interlinked together, was designed by noted industrial stylist Raymond Loewy. [23] The interlinked 'X's are incorporated in the modern-day ExxonMobil corporate logo; in mid-2016, as part of a corporate rebranding accompanying the launch of ExxonMobil's "Synergy" fuel products, the mixed-case Exxon wordmark from the ExxonMobil corporate logo became the brand's main logo. [24]

In 1985, Minolta introduced an autofocus SLR camera system named "Maxxum" in the United States. Originally, cameras (such as the Maxxum 7000) lenses and flashes used a logo with the X's crossed in 'MAXXUM'. [25] Exxon considered this a violation of their trademark, and as a result, Minolta was allowed to distribute cameras already produced, but was forced to change the stylistic 'XX' and implement this as a change in new production. [26] ExxonMobil similarly sued 21st Century Fox over its cable channel FXX, but the parties agreed to dismiss the suit in October 2015. [27]


Map of Exxon stores in the United States Exxon footprint 2012-08.png
Map of Exxon stores in the United States

Exxon is ExxonMobil's primary retail gasoline brand in most of the United States, with the highest concentration of retail outlets located in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, and in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states. The Exxon brand also has a market presence in the following metropolitan areas:

Mobil is the company's primary retail gasoline brand in California, Florida, New York, New England, the Great Lakes, and the Midwest. Esso is ExxonMobil's primary gasoline brand worldwide except in Australia, Guam, Mexico, Nigeria, and New Zealand, where the Mobil brand is used exclusively. In Colombia, Canada, and Egypt, as well as formerly Japan and Malaysia, both the Esso and Mobil brands are used, in which the latter was rebranded as Petron in 2013, and ENEOS for the former in 2019, respectively. The Mobil brand is applied to each Esso fuel tanks in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Related Research Articles

Mobil Oil company

Mobil, previously known as the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, is a major American oil company that merged with Exxon in 1999 to form a parent company called ExxonMobil. It was previously one of the Seven Sisters that dominated the global petroleum industry from the mid-1940s until the 1970s. Today, Mobil continues as a major brand name within the combined company, as well as still being a gas station sometimes paired with its own store or On the Run. The former Mobil headquarters in Fairfax County, Virginia, was used as ExxonMobil's downstream headquarters until 2015 when ExxonMobil consolidated employees into a new corporate campus in Spring, Texas.

Standard Oil Co. was an American oil-producing, transporting, refining, marketing company. Established in 1870 by John D. Rockefeller and Henry Flagler as a corporation in Ohio, it was the largest oil refiner in the world of its time. Its history as one of the world's first and largest multinational corporations ended in 1911, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in a landmark case, that Standard Oil was an illegal monopoly.


Amoco Corporation was an American chemical and oil company that was founded in 1889, around a refinery located in Whiting, Indiana, United States. Originally part of the Standard Oil Trust, it focused on gasoline for the new automobile market. In 1911, during the breakup of the trust, it became an independent corporation. Incorporated in Indiana, it was headquartered in Chicago. Amoco merged operations with BP in 1998.

Standard Oil of Ohio Former American Oil Company

The Standard Oil Company (Ohio), was an American oil company, founded by John D. Rockefeller in Cleveland. Standard Oil partnered with British Petroleum, in the development of the Prudhoe Bay, Alaska petroleum reserves and the construction of the Trans Alaska pipeline. The complex partnership called for a gradual stock acquisition until British petroleum would eventually gain controlling interest culminating in total acquisition of the American company.

Esso Oil and gas company

Esso is a trading name for ExxonMobil and its related companies. The company began as Standard Oil of New Jersey following the breakup of Standard Oil. In 1972, the name was largely replaced in the U.S. by the Exxon brand after the company bought Humble Oil, while the Esso name remained widely used elsewhere.

Petrofina Former Belgian oil company

Petrofina was a Belgian oil company. It merged with Total in 1999 to form TotalFina, which after subsequent mergers has changed its name back to Total. In the United States, Fina's former refining and marketing operations are now owned by Delek US.

Circle K international chain of convenience stores

Circle K Stores, Inc. is an international chain of convenience stores, owned by the Canadian multinational Alimentation Couche-Tard. Founded in 1951 in El Paso, Texas, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 1990 and went through several owners, before being acquired by Alimentation Couche-Tard in 2003. As of February 2020, Circle K has 9,799 stores in North America, 2,697 stores in Europe, and an additional 2,380 stores operating under franchise agreements worldwide.

Minolta Maxxum 7000 35mm SLR camera model

The Minolta MAXXUM 7000 35 mm SLR camera was introduced in February 1985. It was the first camera to feature both integrated autofocus (AF) and motorised film advance, the standard configuration for later amateur and professional single lens reflex cameras.

Bayway Refinery

Bayway Refinery is a refining facility in the Port of New York and New Jersey, owned by Phillips 66. Located in Linden and Elizabeth, New Jersey, and bisected by Morses Creek, it is the northernmost refinery on the East Coast of the United States. The oil refinery converts crude oil into gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, propane and heating oil. As of 2007, the facility processed approximately 238,000 bbl/d (37,800 m3/d) of crude oil, producing 145,000 bbl/d (23,100 m3/d) of gasoline and 110,000 bbl/d (17,000 m3/d) of distillates. Its products are delivered to East Coast customers via pipeline transport, barges, railcars and tank trucks.

On the Run (convenience store) convenience store brand

On the Run is a flagship convenience store brand developed by ExxonMobil, used at Exxon and Mobil stations in the United States, BP and Mobil in Australia and at Esso and Mobil stations internationally. Alimentation Couche-Tard acquired the On the Run trademark and franchise network in the U.S. in 2009, and Parkland Fuel did the same in Canada in 2016; ExxonMobil retains full ownership of the brand in the rest of the world.

Atlantic Petroleum

Atlantic Petroleum was an oil company in the Eastern United States headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a direct descendant of the Standard Oil Trust. It was also one of the companies that merged with Richfield Oil to form the AtlanticRichfield Co. later known as ARCO. After an unsuccessful spinoff from ARCO, Atlantic was acquired by Sunoco in 1988. The remainder of ARCO was later acquired by BP, but BP later sold most of Arco's retail assets and brand name were sold to Tesoro, renamed Andeavor in 2017. The Arco brand is now owned by Marathon Petroleum.

Humble Oil

Humble Oil and Refining Co. was founded in 1911 in Humble, Texas. In 1919, a 50% interest in Humble was acquired by Standard Oil of New Jersey which acquired the rest of the company in September 1959 and merged with its parent to become Exxon Company, USA in 1973.

Standard Oil of Kentucky

The Standard Oil Company of Kentucky or Kyso was an oil company and gasoline distributor that operated in the southeastern United States from 1886 until it was acquired by Chevron Oil Company in 1961. After the breakup of the Standard Oil company in 1911, the company was awarded rights to run the oil operation of Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Petron Corporation

Petron Corporation is the largest oil refining and marketing company in the Philippines, supplying more than a third of the country's oil requirements. It operates a refinery in Limay, Bataan with a rated capacity of 180,000 barrels per day (29,000 m3/d). From the refinery, Petron moves its products mainly by sea to 32 depots and terminals throughout the country.

ExxonMobil American multinational oil and gas corporation

Exxon Mobil Corporation, stylized as ExxonMobil, is an American multinational oil and gas corporation headquartered in Irving, Texas. It is the largest direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil, and was formed on November 30, 1999 by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. ExxonMobil's primary brands are Exxon, Mobil, Esso, and ExxonMobil Chemical. ExxonMobil is incorporated in New Jersey.

Enco was a secondary retail brand name for products of Humble Oil in certain parts of the United States from 1960 to 1977. It was used on filling stations operated by Humble in states where they were not permitted to use the Esso brand under conditions set by the court-ordered breakup of Standard Oil in 1911.

Gulf Oil LP

Gulf Oil LP is a major American oil company formed when Cumberland Farms acquired the naming rights to the Gulf Oil brand from Chevron in the United States in 1986.

Ghana Oil Company

Ghana Oil Company, known as GOIL, is a state-owned Ghanaian oil and gas marketing company, formed on 14 June 1960. Currently it holds the place of Ghana's top oil marketing company, and is the only indigenous owned petroleum marketing company in Ghana.

German-American Petroleum Company

Deutsch-Amerikanische Petroleum Gesellschaft, also known as German-American Petroleum Company, was a German petroleum company that was a subsidiary of Standard Oil and was founded in 1890. From 1950 onwards the company was called the Esso Deutschland GmbH and has been a subsidiary of the ExxonMobil group since 1999.


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  2. "Exxon Corporation | American company". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-02-08.
  3. "A Guide to the ExxonMobil Historical Collection, 1790-2004: Part 1". Briscoe Center for American History. The University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  4. Brooks, John (1973-03-03). "IT WILL GROW ON YOU". The New Yorker. ISSN   0028-792X . Retrieved 2018-05-14.
  5. 1 2 Smith, William D. (1972-10-25). "And Now the Esso Name Is History". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  6. "The society mourns the loss of Robert Goodhue Jones" . Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  7. "ExxonMobil - Our History" . Retrieved 2010-02-13. And see also the fact, that almost at Newport Jazz Festival 1960 the musician Muddy Waters performed his hit "Put a Tiger in Your Tank", slating the Esso advert by applying the slogan to special masculinity's sexual wishes towards a woman, cf. "Muddy Waters - Tiger In Your Tank" . Retrieved 2010-02-13. and its recording on the album At Newport 1960 . 1959 as the year of the final slogan message is also mentioned by: Brian Ash, Tiger in Your Tank: The Anatomy of an Advertising Campaign (1969), p. 32.
  8. "On with Exxon". TIME. Time.com. 1972-05-22. Retrieved 2008-12-25.
  9. Fountain, Henry (2013-12-09). "Lessons From the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  10. Stevens, William K. (1989-04-02). "IDEAS & TRENDS; Oil Exacts A Price From The Earth". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  11. "Exxon Valdez: The Spill, the Cleanup and the Charges". The New York Times. 1990-03-01. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  12. Egan, Timothy (1989-03-28). "Captain Has History of Drinking and Driving". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  13. Liptak, Adam (2008-06-26). "Damages Cut Against Exxon in Valdez Case". The New York Times. Retrieved 2020-01-13.
  14. Jennifer Hiller, Ron Bousso, Dmitry Zhdannikov (July 30, 2020). "Exxon prepares spending, job cuts in last ditch move to save dividend". Reuters . Retrieved August 8, 2020.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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  16. "Exxon plunges to first loss in decades as pandemic chokes off demand". BBC News. 2021-02-02. Retrieved 2021-02-08.
  17. ANDREW POLLACK (2 December 1981). "EXXON CLOSES PLANT AND LAYS OFF 1,100 IN OFFICE COMPANY". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 October 2018. To beef up its marketing, Exxon is selling its electronic typewriters through Sears, Roebuck & Company's new business equipment stores.
  18. By Mark Potts (28 November 1984). "Exxon to Quit Office-Systems Business". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 October 2018. Analysts repeatedly have rapped Exxon for its performance in office systems, saying that the giant oil company failed to fully realize the subtleties of managing small high-tech companies.
  19. Jean-Louis Gassée (16 September 2018). "The Exxon Delusion". Monday Note. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  20. Pearson, Anne and Ralph Bivins. "Exxon moving corporate headquarters to Dallas". Houston Chronicle . Friday October 27, 1989. A1. Retrieved on July 29, 2009.
  21. "The Return of Esso Gasoline?". CSP Daily News. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  22. "After 78 Years, Exxon Asks Court To Use 'Esso' Name Again". CSP Daily News. 21 December 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  23. Savov, Vlad (2013-11-05). "Raymond Loewy: the man who designed everything". The Verge. Retrieved 2017-08-29.
  24. "ExxonMobil Debuts Synergy Fuel, Imaging". CSP Daily News. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  25. Minolta Maxxum camera with original crossed 'XX' logo
  26. "Minolta Maxxum camera with modified double 'X' logo". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
  27. "Fox, ExxonMobil Hit Brakes on "FXX" Trademark Dispute". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-09-20.