Standard Oil of Ohio

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Standard Oil of Ohio
Company typePublic (1911–1987)
Founded1911; 113 years ago (1911)
FounderJohn D. Rockefeller
Defunct1987; 37 years ago (1987)[2]
FateAcquired by BP
SuccessorBP America Inc.
ProductsGasoline, motor oils
  • Boron (1954–1991)[3]
  • Sohio (1928–1991)[3]

The Standard Oil Company of Ohio was an American oil company, a successor of the original company established in 1870 by John D. Rockefeller.[4][2] It was established as "Standard Oil Company of Ohio" as one of the separate entities created after the 1911 breakup.

In the 1960s, Standard Oil of Ohio partnered with BP, 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 BP would eventually gain controlling interest culminating in total acquisition of the American company. The company ceased operations in 1987, although BP continued to sell gasoline under the 'Sohio' brand until 1991.[2]


Under the name "Standard Oil of Ohio", the company was established as a separate business after the antitrust breakup the oil conglomerate's monopoly in 1911. It operated service stations under the 'Sohio' brand name in Ohio but was prohibited in using the 'Standard' name in other states. In nearby states, it used the Boron brand name (introduced in 1954)[3] instead, but with an otherwise-similar logo. Wallace Trevor Holliday was President of the company from 1928 to 1949 and Chairman of the Board from 1949 until his death on November 7, 1950.

In 1968, Sohio's CEO, Charlie Spahr, arranged a merger with BP. It was announced as Standard's acquisition of BP's North American interests in exchange for BP receiving 25% of Sohio's stock.[5] However, the contract included a stipulation that BP would assume majority interest when Standard's share of production from the Prudhoe Bay oilfield in Alaska reached 600,000 barrels per day (95,000 m3/d). That occurred in 1978, and BP then took control of Standard Oil.[6] The U.S. operations were unified under the BP America corporate name.[when?]

By 1991, BP had rebranded all Sohio and Boron retail stations as 'BP',[7][8][9] except for some marine fuel outlets.[citation needed]

In 2011, a BP station in Steubenville, Ohio that had originally opened as a Sohio station in 1946 ended fuel sales and was restored to 1970s vintage Sohio colors as a museum for Sohio. The site has vintage (non-working) Sohio pumps and other Sohio memorabilia. The garage itself remains active.[10]


By 1980, Sohio and Boron had 3,400 gas stations in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia.[citation needed] Sohio acquired 5,660 former Gulf stations as a result of FTC anti-trust limitations in Chevron's 1985 takeover of Gulf. These stations, bought for $1 billion, were in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.[11][12] Sohio was allowed to use the "Gulf" name for five years after the acquisition.[citation needed]

BP continues[needs update?] to sell marine fuel under the Sohio brand at various marinas on Ohio waterways and in Ohio state parks in order to protect its rights in the Sohio and Standard Oil names. The Anderson Ferry Marina near Cincinnati, Ohio as of 2005

By the end of 1985, all other Standard Oil descendants had minimized use of the name Standard, following Standard Oil of Indiana renaming itself Amoco earlier in the year as well as Chevron's aforementioned merger with Gulf that same year that led to its official corporate name to change from Standard Oil of California to Chevron Corporation. As a result, Standard of Ohio corporately rebrand itself in 1986 under the Standard name, while continuing to use the Sohio brand in Ohio.[13][1] In 1987, BP bought the 45% of Sohio it did not already own for $7.82 Billion and assumed control.[14] Among the first changes was the rebranding of all Sohio, Boron, & Gulf stations that it owned to 'BP' in 1991.[9] Among the conversions included former Mobil stations in Western Pennsylvania (including Pittsburgh) that Standard of Ohio acquired in 1987 when Mobil left that market, most of which had just rebranded as Boron when they were converted to BP.[15] From 1989 to 1991, many Sohio, Boron and Gulf stations used BP's color scheme of green and yellow during the transitional rebranding to BP.[16]

The Boron name was used outside of Ohio in neighboring states, like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia. Boron was also the branding of its premium grade gasoline along with its regular grade fuel "Extron" (formerly "Ex-tane" later "Octron") and its unleaded version "Cetron" introduced in 1970.[citation needed]

Standard Oil of Ohio's motor oil brands included Boron, Sohio, Cetron, CHD, Duron, Multron, Nitrex, Nitron, Octron, Premex, and Qvo.

Sohio's credit cards, like other oil company cards at the time, could be used at competitors' stations outside the issuing company's competitive territory, which in Sohio's case was Ohio.[original research?] The benefit died with the Sohio brand. Exxon had a similar arrangement as well.[original research?] In 1916, Sohio introduced a prefabricated canopy prototype for its stations.[17] Although Sohio gas stations have ceased to exist, a few marina gas stations on Lake Erie and the Ohio River still[when?] bear the Sohio name.[citation needed]

When BP merged with Amoco in 1998, its American headquarters moved from the former BP America Building on Public Square in Cleveland to Chicago.[18] Its American headquarters have since moved to the Houston Energy Corridor in Houston, Texas, in line with the corporate offices of Shell and fellow Standard spinoffs ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil.


Hospitality Motor Inns[edit]

Hospitality Motor Inns, a wholly owned Sohio subsidiary, operated 11 motor inns in Ohio and surrounding states[19] The company was formed in 1963 as a Sohio subsidiary. Hospitality became a publicly held company when Sohio sold off 51% of the company to the public. Sohio sold its remaining interest of the chain to Hosmin, Inc., in 1978.[20]


In the 1980s, as many gas stations began converting their vehicle service bays into convenience stores, Sohio wished to continue performing auto maintenance by launching a specialty auto repair shop. Called Sohio ProCare, these shops were often located near Sohio stations that now had convenience stores instead of auto service and were more specialized compared to traditional auto garages located at gas stations. The locations were mostly in Ohio, but Sohio did expand the concept into Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where they were known as "Boron ProCare". Also, unlike many Sohio stations, the ProCare locations were owned and operated directly by Sohio. Commercials for ProCare often featured M*A*S*H actor Gary Burghoff as "That Sohio Guy", as part of a larger Sohio advertising campaign featuring Burghoff.[21] Burghoff himself would stay with BP for a time as a spokesperson after BP converted Sohio and its other brands to BP.

BP retained ProCare following its absorption of Sohio, rebranding it as "BP ProCare" and changing the colors in its logo to match BP. BP continued to operate it until selling off the chain to a private investment group in 1999, at which point the shops were simply called ProCare without an oil company prefix and its logo was reverted to its Sohio-era colors.[22] Following a bankruptcy under the private investment group's ownership, ProCare would ultimately be acquired by Monro Muffler Brake in 2006, and converted the locations to its own brands.[23]


Chairman of the Board President

W. Trevor Holliday, 1949–1950
Armstrong A. Stambaugh, 1950-1955
Clyde T. Foster, 1956–1961
unfilled, 1961-1969
Charles E. Spahr, 1970–1977
Alton W. Whitehouse Jr., 1978–1986
Sir Robert Horton, 1986–1987

W. Trevor Holliday, 1928–1949
Clyde T. Foster, 1949–1957
Charles E. Spahr, 1957–1969
Alton W. Whitehouse Jr., 1970–1977
Joseph D. Harnett, 1977–1980
John R. Miller, 1980–19??



  1. ^ a b "Standard Oil to Drop Sohio". New York Times. February 25, 1986.
  2. ^ a b c "Standard Oil Co". Ohio History Central.
  3. ^ a b c Lyin, Dan D. (12 February 2021), "Sohio History", (blog)
  4. ^ "The Standard Oil Company; Ohio Charter No. 3675". Ohio Secretary of State. 1870-01-10. Archived from the original on 2021-06-06.
  5. ^ Dallos, Robert E. (June 3, 1969). "Standard (Ohio) to Buy British Petroleum Unit: Standard of Ohio to Buy BP Subsidiary". Los Angeles Times. p. c11. ProQuest 156209799.
  6. ^ Egan, Jack (October 19, 1978). "BP Gaining Control of Sohio". Washington Post.
  7. ^ Caldwell, Dave (2012-12-29). 5 1989 Peg BP News. Archived from the original on 2021-12-11. Retrieved 2018-11-28 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ "Sohio name being replaced by BP after 63 years". United Press International. April 25, 1991.
  9. ^ a b "Historic Sohio name soon to be just a memory". United Press International. April 12, 1991.
  10. ^ "Sohio in Steubenville".
  11. ^ "Sohio to Buy Some Gulf Assets". New York Times. September 28, 1984.
  12. ^ Potts, Mark (September 28, 1984). "Chevron, Sohio Set Deal for Gulf Assets". Washington Post.
  13. ^ "Sohio Returns To Old Corporate Name". Associated Press. February 25, 1986.
  14. ^ Cole, Robert J. (April 29, 1987). "B.P. In $7.82 Billion Deal for Standard". New York Times.
  15. ^ "Mobil Sells 28 Stations". Toledo Blade. December 30, 1987. p. 18 – via Google News Archive.
  16. ^ "5 1989 Peg BP News". YouTube.
  17. ^ "The History of Gasoline Retailing", National Association of Convenience Stores, February 2, 2011, archived from the original on 2011-03-24
  18. ^ Zajac, Andrew (August 16, 1998). "In Cleveland, Few Gasps at BP's Leaving". Chicago Tribune.
  19. ^ Gallaher, Mary Jane (October 1971). "A Career in Hospitality" (PDF). The Sohioan. Vol. 43, no. 5. The Standard Oil Company. p. 18. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-04 – via (blog).
  20. ^ Campbell v. Hospitality Motor Inns, Inc., 493 N.E.2d 239 (Ohio 1986).
  21. ^ [1][dead link]
  22. ^ "Bp Amoco Sheds Procare in Sale to Investor Group". 31 May 2005.
  23. ^ "Monro Muffler Brake to Acquire Assets of ProCare Automotive Service Solutions Out of Bankruptcy". 6 March 2006.

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