Most Environmental Gas Station?

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Green gas stationSounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? Usually when the words environmental and gas station or used in the same sentence, they negate each other. In this case, however, we are looking to find a gas station that currently does the least environmental harm. In other words, a lesser of evils.

Note: While this article was researched and written in early 2010, we continue to hear many of the same names in the news today. So, please do your research before you fill up the pump to make sure you are supporting the most environmental gas station in your town.

What About Alternative Energy?

We’re all for alternative sources of energy, electric cars, and other modes of transit to free us from our dependence on fossil fuels. However, while the technology, consumer demand, and economic feasibility catch up, the best we can do (aside from taking our bicycle or mass public transit) is fill up at stations that have a better environmental record than others.

Let’s take a look at the top three and the bottom three gas stations in terms of their impact on the planet.

The Winner for Most Environmental Gas Station Is…

Sunoco (formerly Sun Company Inc.) is an American petroleum and petrochemical manufacturer headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is one of the largest gasoline distribution companies in the United States, with Sunoco brand gasoline being sold in over 4,700 outlets.

Sunoco – the Environmental

Paying at the gas pump

Sunoco is the only oil company that has signed the CERES (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies) principles, is a Global Sullivan Principles Signatory, and has a non-discrimination policy. Sunoco is a BELC (Business Environmental Leadership Council) member, and they have officially stated that they acknowledge that climate change is affecting our planet adversely.

Sunoco – the Not So Environmental

The outstanding negative marks against Sunoco are a Wildlife Refuge spill back in 2000, a discrimination lawsuit, and an MTBE (gas additive that is a suspected carcinogen) lawsuit.

The Runner Up for Most Environmental Gas Station Is…

BP (initially British Petroleum, but recently renamed to Beyond Petroleum, and also goes under the names Amoco, ARCO, and am/pm). BP is a British global energy company. It is the third largest global energy and fourth largest company in the world. As a multinational oil company (“oil major”) BP is the UK’s largest corporation, with its headquarters in St James’s, City of Westminster, London.

Right now you’re probably thinking – wait, where were you guys during the BP oil spill? We don’t wish to undermine that tragic disaster one bit, but the reality of the situation is that there is no environmentally sound gas company. As far as environmental efforts go, BP has and continues to outpace its competitors. That being said, the BP oil spill definitely played a factor in preventing BP from gaining our top stop.

BP has a laundry list of both good and bad contributions to the third rock from the Sun. Let’s start with the good.

BP – the Environmental

BP is also a BELC member and supports the Kyoto protocol (The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions). BP has made a CO2 reduction commitment, and reportedly has the best climate change awareness in the oil industry.

In addition, BP’s track record includes a $600 million allocation for pollution control in the workplace. BP works together with Amnesty International and the WWF. They use low-sulfur gas, own the largest solar company, run solar-powered gas stations, are a member of CFCP (the California Fuel Cell Partnership), and won the 1998 Enviro Steward Award. The list goes on. They abstain from political contributions, are a member of the Malaysian global warming education program, have a non-discrimination policy, were ranked as one of the 100 best companies for working mothers, were acknowledged as a model for human rights efforts in 2004, and hold self-imposed emissions caps.

Whew, sounds like the greenest gas station on the planet, right? Unfortunately what kept them from taking the #1 spot is their almost equally long list of negatives. Here we go.

BP – the Not So Environmental

Oil leakThe Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill is a Gulf of Mexico oil spill, resulting from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon (which drilled on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect) on April 20, 2010. The spill flowed uncapped for three months, and the impact of the spill continues to this day. It is the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. 11 men on the rig were killed during the explosion and 17 were injured.

The leak continued, releasing nearly 5 million barrels of oil (almost 206 million gallons, or 53,000 barrels per day), before the wellhead was capped on July 15th. It wasn’t until September 19th that the well was finally under control and the leaking had stopped to a significant degree.

The BP Oil Spill caused extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats as well as the Gulf’s fishing and tourism industries. In late November 2010, 4,200 square miles of the Gulf were re-closed to shrimping after tar balls were found in shrimpers’ nets. The total amount of Louisiana shoreline impacted by oil grew from 287 miles in July to 320 miles in late November 2010. In January 2011, an oil spill commissioner reported that tar balls continue to wash up, oil sheen trails are seen in the wake of fishing boats, wetlands marsh grass remains fouled and dying, and that crude oil lies offshore in deep water and in fine silts and sands onshore. A research team found oil on the bottom of the seafloor in late February 2011 that did not seem to be degrading.

Skimmer ships, floating containment booms, anchored barriers, sand-filled barricades along shorelines, and dispersants were used in an attempt to protect hundreds of miles of beaches, wetlands, and estuaries from the spreading oil. Scientists have also reported immense underwater plumes of dissolved oil not visible at the surface as well as an 80-square-mile “kill zone” surrounding the blown well.

The U.S. Government has named BP as the responsible party, and officials have committed to holding the company accountable for all cleanup costs and other damage. After its own internal probe, BP admitted that it made mistakes which led to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Source: Wikipedia

More BP Negatives

BP withdrew from the GCC (Global Climate Coalition), and have on their record a number of Clean Air Act violations, illegal waste dumping, and the Beaufort pipeline, a pipeline that will be the first deep-water oil exploration program in an arctic environment. In addition, they are infamous for their giant oil spill in Southern California in 1990. On February 7, 1990, a tanker carrying BP oil spilled 400,000 gallons of Alaskan crude oil along the Orange County, California coastline off the shore of Huntington Beach. Oil residue from the spill contaminated the Huntington Beach wetlands, which are a refuge for migratory waterfowl and contain a number of endangered species. The following month, California’s state Department of Fish and Game accused BP of falsely claiming to have performed oil spill cleanup work on Orange County’s Shoreline.

Recently, BP’s human rights efforts have been stronger. Maybe because of their human rights violations in South America years prior. BP operated out of Burma, has suffered fatalities from refinery explosions, and has been on Multinational Monitor’s list of 10 worst companies…twice. The list goes on and on, unfortunately.

Read a full story on a BP’s Texas City disaster below.

No Gas Station is Environmental

Oil refinery smogWhat we have to remember here is that we are finding the most environmental gas station. That still doesn’t mean the gas station is environmental. We’re simply trying to find the lesser of evils. I think we all realize now that the ultimate solution relies in renewable forms of energy, run by companies that specialize in the field – not by oil giants that spend lots of dollars on green marketing. That being said, we move on to the number three spot.

The Third Most Environmental Gas Station Is…

Marathon (also goes under the names Super America and Ashland) is headquartered in Houston, Texas. Principal exploration activities are in the United States, Norway, Equatorial Guinea, Angola and Canada. Principal development activities are in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.

Just like the other oil giants, Marathon is taking steps in the green direction.

Marathon – the Environmental

It participates in the API (American Petroleum Institute) Climate Challenge, and is a partner in the Global Gas Flaring and Venting Reduction Initiative, which aims to eliminate venting and reduce flaring of associated gas. In addition, Marathon has instituted a pipeline right-of-way revegetation program, and employs teams that have transformed more than 1,400 acres of Marathon wooded areas, grassland, cropland, lakes and wetlands into habitat certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC).

Marathon – the Not So Environmental

Unfortunately, as with the other contenders this list pales in comparison with the negatives. One of the most controversial issues involves Marathon’s dealings with Equatorial Guinea’s dictator Nguema. Marathon and its partners started BIMCP (the Bioko Island Malaria Control Project) to help curtail Malaria outbreaks. This ended up mitigating some of the criticism around their dealings with Nguema. Marathon was under an SEC ethics investigation, and joins several other oil giants on Multinational Monitor’s 10 worst companies list. The PERI (Political Economy Research Institute) ranks Marathon Oil 96th among air polluting corporations in the U.S. They’ve been fined for pipeline spills and air permit violations.

If that was the top three most environmental gas stations, imagine what the bottom three will look like. Here we go…

In Third Place for Least Environmental Gas Station Is…

Chevron Corporation (which has acquired Texaco and Unocal) was originally known as Standard Oil of California, or SoCal, and was formed amid the antitrust breakup of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil company in 1911. Headquartered in San Ramon, California, USA, and active in more than 180 countries, it is engaged in every aspect of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production; refining, marketing and transport; chemicals manufacturing and sales; and power generation. Chevron is one of the world’s six “supermajor” oil companies.

Chevron – the Environmental

Chevron is a member of the CFCP (California Fuel Cell Partnership), as well as the BSR (Business for Social Responsibility). They have invested in alternative energy, sponsored coastal cleanups, and improved refineries to promote fuel efficiency. And, they are the only oil company to release greenhouse gas emission numbers.

Chevron – the Not So Environmental

Filling up at gas stationThey were the first to drop out of the GCC (Global Climate Coalition), were cited for Nigerian human rights violations, Clean Water Act violations, and toxic dumping in the Amazon. The CEP (Center for Environmental Policy) rated Chevron one of the worst companies, they have been on Multinational Monitor’s list of 10 worst companies 4 times, and are number 41 on their top 100 corporate criminals list. In addition, Chevron has been subject to gender discrimination, racism lawsuits, employee rights violations, SEC ethics investigations, toxic dumping in California, questionable campaign contribution practices, and more.

The Runner-Up for Least Environmental Gas Station is…

ConocoPhillips (also Conoco, Phillips 66, and Union 76). Conoco Inc. was an American oil company founded in 1875 as the Continental Oil and Transportation Company. It is now a brand of gasoline and service station in the United States which belongs to the ConocoPhillips Company. It is an international energy corporation with its headquarters located in the Energy Corridor district of Houston, Texas. ConocoPhillips is a Fortune 500 company, and is the fifth largest private sector energy corporation in the world, as well as one of the six supermajor oil companies.

ConocoPhillips – The Environmental

In 2007 ConocoPhillips became the first US oil company to join the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, an alliance of big business and environmental groups. To further its committment, ConocoPhillips proclaimed it would spend $150 million in 2007 on the research and development of new energy sources and technologies, more than double what it spent the year before. They also voluntarily built double-hulled tankers to help prevent oil spills.

ConocoPhillips – The Not So Environmental

ConocoPhillips was ranked 13th among U.S. corporate producers of air pollutions by the PERI (Political Economy Research Institute). In 1998, they were ranked as one of the worst polluters in the world. They have been responsible for massive oil spills, multiple fatal explosions, South American human rights violations, toxic dumping lawsuits, and numerous safety violations. Because of their desire to drill in wetlands, they are a member of the end of the NWC (National Wetlands Coalition), which opposes the U.S. Wetlands policy. Time magazine calls the NWC “a big-biz coalition against wetlands.”

Not surprisingly then, that they have been involved in a groundwater lawsuit. And believe it or not, ConocoPhillips drilled exploratory wells in the heart of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in the State of Utah. If that wasn’t enough, they continue pushing to drill in other protected areas. The CEP also rated them one of the worst companies, they have been on Multinational Monitor’s 10 worst list 5 times, and are number 77 on their list of top 100 corporate criminals. Okay, you’re probably sick to your stomach now. But nothing could prepare you for the monster of oil companies…

The Least Environmental Gas Station is…

ExxonMobil. Exxon formally replaced the Esso, Enco, and Humble brands in the United States on January 1, 1973. From 1972 to 1999, Exxon was the corporate name of the company previously known as Standard Oil Company of New Jersey or Jersey Standard. It is a direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil company, and was formed on November 30, 1999, by the merger of Exxon and Mobil.

ExxonMobil is the world’s largest publicly traded company and is the largest of the six oil supermajors.

Not only is Exxon ridiculously profitable (they have been the most profitable company on the stock market), but their track record for the environment is simply heinous.

Exxon – The Environmental

ExxonMobil will point out that they are a BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) member, a partner in the Global ReLeaf Project, and have made contributions to the Malaria research fund, Save the Tiger fund, and the Alaskan Natives fund. Unfortunately, this doesn’t exactly acquit them of their crimes.

Exxon – The Not So Environmental

ExOil leak in naturexonMobil has been accused by major scientific organizations of waging a misinformation campaign aiming to create uncertainty on the issue of global warming. ExxonMobil actively campaigns against the Kyoto protocol and against climate change initiatives. In the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, they took no responsibility and refused to pay damages. Pretty much anything in the negative lists above can be added to Exxon’s list. Clean Air Act violations, human rights violations, toxic dumping lawsuits, radioactive waste lawsuits, air pollutions lawsuits, safety lawsuits, sour gas death lawsuits, etc.

But the worst part is that the actually actively fight environmental initiatives. They have boycotted Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and CRI (Corporate Responsibility International). They are number 5 on Multinational Monitor’s list of top 100 corporate criminals, are a top 25 superfund polluter, and they have been known to discriminate based on sexuality. ExxonMobil is responsible for a whopping 5% of all greenhouse gases on our planet and has the highest emissions in the industry. On the political front, Exxon has silenced shareholder resolutions, has been involved in political manipulations, price-gouging, and deceptive practices.

Maybe It’s Best Not to Fill Up Your Car At All…

Businessman riding bikeMaybe what this article should really be about is finding ways to not drive your car. If you’re close to work try taking your bicycle. Explore public transit options in your area. Ultimately, it will be consumer demand that drives change. That means the more we do today, the less we’ll have to worry about choosing a lesser of evils tomorrow.

BP’s Texas City Disaster

On March 23, 2005 there was a huge fire and explosion at the BP refinery in Texas City, Texas. This was actually the second largest refinery in the state of Texas (and third largest in the entire country) at the time of this unfortunate accident. Fifteen workers were killed and at least 170 other people were injured as a result of this disaster. BP has since been charged with numerous criminal violations of federal law and also been subjected to a number of lawsuits from the families of victims.

BP has reportedly paid out over 1.6 billion dollars as compensation to the families of the dead workers. Additionally, there have been several different fines, including a 50 million dollar plea agreement reached in 2008. This is in addition to the 21 million dollar fine issued by OSHA as the result of over 300 safety violations (the largest fine in OSHA history at the time).

Was This the Foreshadowing of Other Disasters?

One of the most glaring aspects of the Texas City disaster is that it almost seems to have been forewarning the country about future events. According to federal investigators, there were a number of safety recommendations which BP had failed to implement before this incident.

The real problem here is that what happened after the disaster at Texas City. In many ways, what occurred during the Deepwater Horizon incident was eerily similar. There are many who have suggested that these events are most certainly connected and that they form a pattern of misbehavior which must be checked before an even more serious incident occurs.

The Texas City Refinery Background:

The original refinery was built back in the 1930s by Pan American Refining Corporation. Since this time, the facility has gone through a number of different owners. BP took control as part of their merger with Amoco in 1999. Even at this stage, it was obvious to any educated observer that the refinery had some issues that needed to be dealt with. During the 1990s, Amoco had chosen not to make major upgrades that regulators and other reports had indicated were needed.

During the merger, BP intended to bring the Texas City refinery back to profitability (when they took over it had been losing a considerable amount). This was done in large measure due to some very aggressive cost cutting measures. This included a 25 percent across the board budget cut throughout all of their US operations. You would be correct in thinking that this included a large number of safety programs, including:

  • Over 1 million dollars was saved from cutting inspectors and maintenance workers
  • 50,000 dollars was saved by reducing purchases of safety shoes for employees
  • Safety calendars were eliminated
  • Safety awards and programs were eliminated as well

All of these cutbacks did have the desired effect, with the refinery returning to profitability in a rather short period of time. By 2004, the refinery was actually the most profitable facility in the BP stable. Annual earnings were approaching 900 million dollars. However, the company still desired additional cuts.

Examining BP’s Safety Track Record:

In 2002, at the behest of a new site director, an outside firm was hired to perform a safety audit of the Texas City refinery. The report actually mentioned that there were over 80 hydrocarbon releases between 2000 and 2001. There were also serious mechanical integrity issues and overdue inspections. Additional recommendations include 235 million dollars in upgrades to the refinery. These same basic concerns were noted again during safety audits in 2003 and 2004.

This same director also issued an email to staff describing the general state of safety in the plant. According to the email, in 2004 there were three avoidable deaths and a major fire. Around this same, perhaps the most damning internal report was issued by the Telos Group, a hired outside auditing firm. Among the conclusions were that the employees had an exceptional degree of fear regarding a potential catastrophe and that there was a type of blindness which prevented any kind of action regarding changes in safety procedures and programs. The report also spoke of hazards caused by poor conditions that would be unthinkable at another major refiner.

Another very telling sign was when the refinery managers outlined some key risk factors which faced the refinery for the year of 2005. This was actually done less than a month before the disaster. Two of the most telling issues outlined were that workers would avoid reporting safety incidents out of fear of punishment along with the strong possibility of the plant actually killing someone within the next 12 to 18 months. In actuality, it took about 20 more days for the second fear to come true.

What Can Be Learned From Texas City?

The lessons from Texas City are far-reaching. It is quite obvious that when proper safety standards are not maintained, the chances of having a major incident like Texas City increases considerably. BP continuously failed to make any of the recommended changes, equipment upgrades or take into consideration any of the outside reports which had been commissioned. Despite repeated warnings and even fines by government regulators and authorities, it seemed that nothing was able to change the culture of higher profits at any cost that reigned supreme at BP.

In addition to a horrible safety record, it is also obvious that the rules and regulations failed. One possibility is that regulators be endowed with even more authority. Perhaps giving them the option of shutting down a plant if repeated warnings and recommendations are not heeded would be a beneficial step? It is clear that the situation as it stood at the time of the Texas City disaster simply was broken. Unfortunately, it seems that not much has changed. There have been additional disasters (Deepwater Horizon) and even the Texas state Attorney General has filed charges in state court due to their continued illegal toxic emissions.

About The Author:

Alex loves nature and does his best to take care of the planet. He doesn't take for granted the serenity that can be found in the stillness of an ancient forest, or the majestic power of the ocean's large waves as they crash on an isolated island shoreline. He wants to raise awareness for how simple it can be to make a couple changes in your everyday life that can make a huge difference for the environment in the long term.

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Dave Anderson
October 9, 2018 4:30 pm

I think that it is awesome how you are looking for a gas station that does the least environmental harm. I am curious though if they deliver gas as well. I have a tank in my backyard that is used for emergencies that I need to be filled. I would love to have someone come to deliver gas and fill it up.

September 14, 2012 10:19 pm

It just feels weird. On one hand, I’m glad that some gas companies are taking steps in the direction of being responsible. That is commendable. However, when I hear the chaos and damage that they’re causing all over the place with the oil spills and such, it just feels sad. I mean can you really call a gas station environmental for signing some papers? I think these companies have to start taking some sort of action when it comes to this stuff. There have been so many accidents that have come as a result of gas, I would think that the most environmental gas company should be the one that is out there actively looking to patent and put into daily rotation the first non-gas form of fuel. The most environmental gas station should be funding research on imbedding solar panels into cars and they should be looking for a solution yesterday. I mean these companies make more than enough money to do the research and find something within the next 5 years. I truly believe this. Will they do it? Probably not. But when someone really patents a solution they’ll wish they had.

September 2, 2012 7:53 pm

Let’s face it; no gas company can say they’re environmentally green. All we are looking for is the lesser of two evils; much like politics. All gas stations can say they’re making money, but none of them are green. Don’t we all remember the BP Oil Spill that’s still not 100% cleaned up yet…but BP isn’t the most harmful to the environment?!

I’m sure loads of people have heard on the news about the BP Oil Spill. Many of us thought it was the worst oil company for the longest time, but it’s not? I enjoyed this article a lot because the oil companies that I thought would be the most harmful were not after all. It changed my whole perspective.

I seriously thought BP was the most harmful, but there are others that are worse. It was interesting to learn that Exxon Mobile isn’t environmentally safe either. I think the best solution if people want to help the environment is to purchase an environmentally safe car that doesn’t use much gasoline. People use so much oil.

Kathy Faust
August 31, 2012 7:09 pm

It really is hard to think of a gas station as being environmentally friendly. After all, gasoline is one of the worst contributors to greenhouse gases. However, it’s nice to know that gas stations are doing what they can to reduce their carbon footprint. I have to admit that I prefer to purchase gas from Shell or ExxonMobil. I like the fact that Exxon offers a gas that supposedly burns cleaner. I know that Exxon has had some pretty bad experiences in the past, but at least they’re trying.

Personally, I refuse to purchase gas at BP. After their massive oil problem in the Gulf, I just can’t give my money to such a horrible company. Not only did they ruin the lives of many people living on the coast, but they ruined eco-systems and caused the death of millions of fish, animals, and shellfish. To me, that is far from green. I don’t care what other practices they use.

While companies can’t do a whole lot to change the product they sell, they can do a lot to make their gas stations, transportation methods, and other everyday tasks greener. Whether it’s using solar power at their gas stations or eliminating paper towels in their restrooms, there are things that can be done.

August 31, 2012 5:55 pm

I can’t believe that BP Oil Company with all of its environmental issues is considered 2nd best when it comes to being environmental friendly. This shows the state of other gas companies, and how big oil companies have been damaging the environment for years. This article has thrown light on so much. The way the green component of each company is evaluated here is thorough; it covers the problems extensively and compares all the oil companies on the same platform. The way this article discussed the specific incidents and their related reports in an unbiased way is awesome. I can’t believe that companies that big, do things which are so unethical and get away with it.

This shows the inability of government to make policy level changes in a futuristic way for better protection of its people and implement those policies. The incidents like the BP Gulf Oil Spill and the Texas City Disaster show how big oil companies exploit the loop holes in government policies while making profits. They don’t care about the welfare of environment. After reading this article, I want to go green and use less oil.

Kathy Faust
August 28, 2012 5:57 am

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am ready for the environmental gas station that is environmentally friendly to my personal environment. Seriously, I feel like I need to take a nerve pill before I set off on a trip to put anything in my gas tank. And to actually fill my tank? I can’t even remember what that feels like. When I have enough money to fill a tank with gas, it probably is enough to cover my house payment. Granted, I have a small house payment, but those two amounts should never be similar.

I like the idea that as stations are trying to be more environmentally friendly, but those companies are still holding back and I have no reason to believe that they care at all for the environment. Rather, they are getting more tax breaks for implementing some of the programs. It would be nice to think they actually cared about the planet or about anything on the planet other than their bank accounts, but I live in reality and know better than to ever think anything as kind as that. I wish that was not the way it was, but I think we all know the truth here and regardless of any cliches, intentions do mean quite a bit more than the actions themselves.

August 22, 2012 2:14 am

I totally agree with this article. Yes, there are electric cars and public transportation, but honestly, that is not always an option, and only the most hardcore people can really bike twenty miles to work every morning. And some of us are not able to yet afford a cool hybrid car and have to stick with what we have already. So of course, people who are trying to still be green despite the reality of owning and driving a gasoline-powered vehicle get a lot of negative stigma about it, even if, like me, you might not have other options at hand. So in essence, a big Thank You to gas stations for attempting to go more green. Reading through the list, it gets more and more horrible as it goes down, so in the instance where I absolutely need to drive, and have the option of where to fill up, I would definitely rather choose Sunoco or Marathon, since they are green and usually a little less expensive as a bonus. I understand why the authors put BP where they did in the list, but I would choose Marathon over them first because of the BP oil spill tragedy.

Kathy Faust
August 13, 2012 3:49 pm

I really just can’t wait for the day when we have enough sense to not have gas stations at all. I hope that it is just around the corner. As well as some of these companies seem to be doing, it just is not enough. They are still major sources of pollution and corruption on levels that are destroying entire nations and causing people to struggle more than was ever needed.

You can’t tell me that in a time when I can talk to someone in real time who lives on another continent that they can’t figure out how to get rid of the concept of using petroleum products altogether. Maybe we can use them on a minimal basis, but we are really just sucking the life force right out of our planet. We have no respect for anything. We just make everything about how our lives can be easier. As a result we have obesity, pollution and a number of other issues that never should have happened.

I will continue to hope for a day when an environmental gas station actually uses the term “gas station” just for the retro sound of it rather than the actual meaning of it.

Kathy Faust
August 13, 2012 3:48 pm

I really just can’t wait for the day when we have enough sense to not have gas stations at all. I hope that it is just around the corner. As well as some of these companies seem to be doing, it just is not enough. They are still major sources of pollution and corruption on levels that are destroying entire nations and causing people to struggle more than was ever needed.

You can’t tell me that in a time when I can talk to someone in real time who lives on another continent that they can’t figure out how to get rid of the concept of using petroleum products altogether. Maybe we can use them on a minimal basis, but we are really just sucking the life force right out of our planet. We have no respect for anything. We just make everything about how our lives can be easier. As a result we have obesity, pollution and a number of other issues that never should have happened.

I will continue to hope for a day when an environmental gas station actually uses the term “gas station” just for the retro sound of it rather than the actual meaning of it.

Kathy Faust
August 4, 2012 10:13 pm

We don’t have any Sunoco stations where I live, but we do have BP stations. I can honestly say that is one company I go out of my way to avoid giving any of my money to. Your research may have found that they are right up there with the trend of going green, but I say they are just putting on a good front, and I am not even sure it is such a good one. They don’t want to regulate things that they should. They suck the economic lifeblood out of our country, and then they get huge tax breaks on top of it all. There is nothing at all that I like about this company. But the thing is, they are all over the interstates around here. So if you happen to be traveling any great distance and you need to get gas, you are just about stuck with dealing with this company.

I have said it before and I will say it again. We have the technology to avoid using as altogether. If big oil places like BP would top killing bills and allow for progress that might let people do right by this planet and be able to afford to live, we would be using that technology already.

August 2, 2012 1:16 am

Well, I see it like this. If cigarette companies can put out television ads and magazine ads that encourage you to quit smoking, then there can be an environmental gas station.

I think it really is just a matter of survival. Obviously, the owners of these gas stations smell change in the wind. With all the hybrid cars that are hitting the market and all of the public buzz about going green and doing the right thing for our environment, I’m sure oil officials realize that their industry must be on its way out and that if they want to survive, they’re going to have to adapt to provide fuel in the most healthy and efficient way possible.

If we start using water for fuel, they need to provide water, optimized for fuel purposes. They understand this, which is probably why gas stations are changing for the better.

Even still, as I read about the winner for most environmental gas station and then saw the words, petroleum and petrochemical manufacturer in the first sentence, it was a little off-putting. It was great that they received the award for being environmentally responsible though.

July 22, 2012 3:56 am

The most environmental friendly gas station sounds like a joke or a misnomer. However, the author is absolutely serious and does a good job expanding on this premise. Of course, no oil company is really going to come out smelling like roses. I think the main thing to remember here is that all of these companies seem to have both good and bad things on their record, so it is all a mixed bag.

The top choice for this list was Sunoco. This company has actually public acknowledged that climate change is affecting our planet adversely and that they are committed to helping to solve the problem. They are also the only oil company to have signed the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies principles and have a non discrimination policy.

Of course, the author also points out some of the not so good things. There was an oil spill in a wildlife refuge back in 2000, a discrimination lawsuit and they continue using an additive in their gasoline which is a suspected carcinogen.

Seems to me to be a mixed bag, but I like the way the author approaches this issue.

July 21, 2012 1:50 am

The title of this article really says it all. I would imagine that many people read about the most environmental gas station and then either laughed or just moved on to the next thing. If so, that is their loss; they missed a really good explanation of the environmental records of several gas stations.

The one I found most interesting was BP. The author begins by noting that the former name was British Petroleum, but is now Beyond Petroleum. They also operate under the brands Amoco and Arco.

I think most people would have come to the section on BP and been absolutely flabergasted at the fact that they came in second in terms of having the best environmental record. Of course, the author is also quick to point out that no one really is the best, it is simply picking the lesser of a number of evils. BP supports the Kyoto protocol and has the best climate change awareness in the oil industry. They work together with Amnesty International and have a number of excellent social programs and policies (including abstaining from all political contributions).

Kathy Faust
July 19, 2012 8:29 am

I understand that BP might do a few things right, but the things they do wrong are just beyond what they might possibly do to make up for anything. Of course, it is not all their fault. I mean, they are out to make a profit and they are only taking advantage of the ignorance of the United States citizens and laws.

BP complains that the only profit in the billions while they rob every person who is actually lucky enough to have a job to drive to. They don’t follow regulations that they do not absolutely have to and they only treat consumers worse and worse. And that oil spill? Good grief, it was like they did not even care about what was happening to the oceans and what is still happening to them.

If BP put half as much money into safety and things life proper disposal as they do n pay-offs, bonuses and marketing campaigns, they would have a product that would just about market itself. But, like many companies, BP cares only about growing the profit margin, no matter who they might hurt in the process. I truly avoid them at all costs.

July 19, 2012 2:10 am

The oil and gas companies in this country have not really been known for any kind of exceptional environmental track record. In fact, at first glance the point of this article may seem a bit counter intuitive. However, I think the author really does a good job to prove their case.

The author certainly does not shy away from what will undoubtedly be the first pieces of criticism out of many mouths. That is the fact that every major oil company has had some serious environmental and natural disasters. Just think of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

I commend the author for not condemning the entire industry. In fact, the main point is that while no one may have completely clean hands, everything here is relevant, and we need to look also at some of the good things that these businesses have done or are working on.

As one of the examples pointed out in the article, I bet you did not know that BP has allocated 600 million dollars to help control pollution in the workplace? Unfortunately, the bad press seems to outshine the good.

Kathy Faust
July 14, 2012 6:06 pm

I have to admit that it’s funny to think about a gas station being environmentally-friendly. Of course, it is possible for a gas station to be as green as possible. Whether it’s how they power their stations or how they conserve water at their car washes, there are a number of things gas stations can do to be more environmental. What really blew me away though was that BP was on the list.

As an American, I simply cannot stand BP after what happened in the Gulf. I like that they are trying to be environmental, but that doesn’t change the fact that I will never buy gas from them again. I was shocked to learn that Exxon/Mobile was the least environmentally-friendly gas station. I know there was the huge oil spill in the 1990s, but thought the company was making a bigger effort with their new gasoline that is supposed to be better for the environment.

My gas station of choice is Shell followed by Exxon because they both offer gasoline that is better for your vehicle. As this article mentioned, no gas station is environmental. However, it is nice to know that some companies are making an effort.

Kathy Faust
July 7, 2012 5:10 pm

BP is probably the company that in my opinion, cares about the environment the least. What they care about are profits, and that is pretty much where all of their effort goes. I know people who work there and yes, they do have strict safety codes for the workers, but it is not because they care. It is because these codes are cheaper to implement than being sued is. Not only that, but they get the government money for motivation.

Oil spills and other ignorance aside, there are plenty of things that oil companies and gas stations can do to promote a healthy environment. These are things they have known for years, but it does not have an impact on their profits, so it really does not matter to them. When the government stops throwing money at these big oil companies and makes them take some responsibility or pay the fine, we might see more companies paying attention. Until then, it’s not likely to happen.

May 10, 2012 12:03 am

This article was a little difficult to read considering the facts given about the major petroleum companies. This group is not a highly popular one to begin with, but we rarely see or hear about what they are doing behind the scenes to propagate their business and increase profits. I found it particularly amusing that BP was the second “Greenest” company on the list and was relieved that the author actually did mention the Gulf Coast oil spill. BP really got raked over the coals for that mistake, and with good reason, so the fact that they round out the top two of this list makes it even a little bit more maddening that these guys get to be so bad, and still get to be soooooooo rich.

The one thing I came away from reading this was that, much like the tobacco companies, it seems like the big oil outfits spend a great deal of money on supporting and belonging to other agencies to counterbalance their naturally crappy image. Big tobacco has long poured millions of dollars annually into smoking awareness campaigns, cancer research, and all kinds of other programs built around helping people that are getting killed by these companies every year. So, in turn big oil companies have tried to stick their filthy hands in all kind of “green” initiatives to be able to point to them and say “See? We aren’t so bad!”. It all feels contrived, cheesy, and completely transparent. Any outfit that accepts money from them should be identified and investigated, in my opinion anyway.

I did find it interesting that BP claims to spend no money on “political interests”.

I thought it was commendable that BP does not spend any money on “political interests” but even that I think I have to take with a grain of salt. It is no mystery that lobbyists pay huge sums of money to the major political parties to sway them in favor of making decisions that help out their respective industries. There is a strong belief that it was the oil companies and automakers that put the brakes on a more extensive transportation rail system in the United States. Therefore, we rely very heavily on fossil fuels and automobiles to move things around this country instead of the far more efficient system of trains that you see in nearly every other major country.

In conclusion, it just makes me shake my head that these companies exist so unapologetically on the other side of the moral fence. They are dirty from head to toe, not one company is completely morally clean and not one is even more good than bad. While Americans pay record prices at the pump, squeezing already tight budgets to the brink of nothingness, petroleum companies continue to report record profits every single year. The capacity for human greed is simply boundless and it is exhibited nowhere more so than the major oil companies.

April 2, 2012 3:32 pm

I want to give you my gratitude for the work you’ve done to compile your list of environmentally friendly gas stations. Gas is a necessary purchase for me, so I want to support companies that perform well with respect to the environment. Your efforts will help me do so.

Reviewing your top three and bottom three, I am surprised to find BP as high on the list as it is. While you’re right to explain that no oil company has a perfect record, as the recency and magnitude of the gulf spill can distort people’s perceptions of the company’s overall record, I was surprised to see no mention of BP’s Texas City disaster in the report. I think that when considered in conjunction with BP’s other failings, you may reconsider BP’s place in your rankings.

Thanks again for your work to cover this topic as I believe it’s very important that consumers have access to this information.

Earth's Friends
April 2, 2012 3:38 pm
Reply to  Colin

Hi Colin,

Thanks so much for your feedback on this article, and bringing our attention to BP’s Texas City Disaster. We’re going to do some digging and see what we can find, and then update the article accordingly.

March 9, 2012 4:31 pm

Why do the oil companies and gas stations get to go on, acting as monopolies when the majority of other industries have been regulated to minimize such control over consumers and corporations. We need government’s help to provide us with fair prices and more oversight for renewable energy solutions in the coming years. Fossil fuels will not last forever and we MUST be prepared. This is an opportunity for our country, the United States, to get ahead of those who have held so much political power due to their gas resources historically. Let’s be the world’s resource for solar energy equipment. Why not wind mills? The U.S. has a chance to make a difference and allow a future for our children. Please help.

March 9, 2012 3:52 pm

All of the oil and gas companies suck! Not to mention the car makers who keep making such inefficient vehicles. Come on everyone – of course cars are needed in today’s society but at least do your part to drive an environmentally responsible car that is cleaner for the environment and gets better mpgs. Let’s get those gas-guzzling SUVs off the roads already!

March 7, 2012 1:23 pm

This article was a real eye opener, but you left out one major player. The Shell Oil company is not listed here or anywhere else as to their record on the environment. Why is that?

January 12, 2012 1:27 pm

Just returned from a “Reality Tour” through Global Exchange, Inc. in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Visited oil spills and worse. Learned how decades of the worst behavior in Ecuador by Chevron-Texaco has gotten them on the hook for $18B.

October 22, 2011 1:04 am

I can’t believe BP is recording record profits yet again, management is no doubt making millions, and the oil spill is all but forgotten. Disgusting. I’m actually looking forward to China kicking our butt, so we get a wake up call and realize that renewal energy is not only good for the economy, but will ultimately save our children and grandchildren much pain and disparity.

July 24, 2011 10:01 pm

I’m going with BP (Beyond Petroleum, used to be British Petroleum), regardless of the oil spill. The fact is, they got unlucky. Outside of the oil spill, they still have one of the less worse environmental records compared to the other oil giants – especially Exxon/ Mobil.