The edge was taken off the petrol sales-war, so far as our interest was concerned, when the Consumers’ Association said, in so many words, that apart from octane-rating differences, all petrols are the same, irrespective of brand name. After this it did not seem to matter which brand we bought, apart from of course the allure of the pump-girls employed by rival companies and the service obtainable at their Service Stations….
But reading the report on oil, referred to above, a fresh aspect of petrol buying occurs to us. Perhaps one should make the choice on nationality of the financial group concerned? Motoring Which? reminds us that the Government owns 49% of B.P. shares, so for us that one is out. Shell is sold by the same organisation. Mobil, nee Vacuum Oil, is American-owned. Regent, nee Trinidad Oil, once half-British, is now owned by the entirely-American Caltex concern. Esso’s parent company is also American — the Standard Oil Company, or SO. Fina has a Belgian parent. So perhaps it depends whether you are a Socialist, pro-American or have European sympathies which of the big-six you support.
We are joking, of course. Indeed, back in February 1953 Motor Sport ran an article on the petrol companies, and another about lubricating oil suppliers in June 1952, which give some rather interesting facts about the origins, history and beliefs of the big and not-so-big companies specialising in these precious and costly fluids. — W. B.