Exxon to Sell Off Retail Gasoline Stations

Exxon-Mobil says it's getting out of the U.S. retail gas business. You'll still see Exxon Mobil signs, with the familiar tiger logo. But on Thursday, the company announced it will sell the 2,200 or so gas stations it still owns.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

NPR's business news starts with a little less tiger in your tank.

Exxon Mobil says it is getting out of the U.S. retail gas business. You're still going to see Exxon Mobil signs with the familiar tiger logo, but yesterday the company announced it will sell the 2,200 or so gas stations that it still owns. Most Exxon-branded gas stations are already owned by independent dealers or distributors, and now that's going to be the case for all of them.

Beth Evans with Platts Oilgram News says despite the high cost of buying gas, profit margins from selling gas at the retail level in the U.S. are very low.

Ms. BETH EVANS (Platts Oilgram News): The real money on the retail side these days is from the sales of the convenience store that's attached to the gas station. It almost sounds like a Slurpee has a better margin these days than a gallon of gasoline.

INSKEEP: As for the gasoline, the oil companies have already made the big profits before they send it to the gas station.

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