September 27, 2006, - 9:18 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Readers of this site know that I’m a big fan of 7-Eleven and Slurpees. My writing on both is here, here, and here.
But, then, one reader, “Smudge,” rained on the parade and noted that the company partners with Hugo Chavez’s state-owned CITGO and exclusively sold CITGO gas at its stations. I checked and “Smudge” was correct. I’d never knowingly recommend a product, service, or business that has dealings with America’s enemies, including Chavez. Until now, Venezuela supplied 15% of U.S. oil through CITGO and 7-Eleven gas stations, which are also really CITGO stations, many of which bear the CITGO sign.
We’re happy to report that 7-Eleven is ending its relationship with Chavez and CITGO. 7-Eleven also took an unusual, but courageous step for corporate America. It basically denounced Chavez’s comments, last week, at the United Nations (see statement, below). We applaud that.
The story was broken by Bud Hedinger of Orlando’s WFLA-AM 540, a station on which I frequently appear. Pat Campbell, the station’s awesome morning host, sent the tip.
I confirmed this with Janey Carpenter, Consumer Affairs Manager for 7-Eleven, who sent this statement:
7-Eleven stores 20-year supply agreement with CITGO Petroleum Corporation, a U.S.-based company, ends next week, and 7-Eleven, Inc. is now making the switch to its own branded gasoline. Distributors for the gasoline that 7-Eleven stores begin selling in October is provided to us by U.S. companies, such as Tower Energy Group in Torrance, Calif., Sinclair Oil of Salt Lake City and Frontier Oil Corporation of Houston.
Customers will begin seeing the signs changing – with the CITGO signs coming down from the gas canopy and off the gasoline dispensers, and the 7-Eleven brand going up — at our more than 2,100 gasoline convenience-retail locations around the U.S. starting this month. While most of the signs will be changed by the end of next year, this is a large undertaking, and not all CITGO signs will be off our gas canopies until 2008.
Regardless of politics, we sympathize with some Americans’ concern over derogatory comments about our country and its leadership recently made by Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez.
We’re happy to note that for 7-Eleven’s 80th birthday next year, on 7/11/07, the company will be Chavez free. And even happier to note that it’s okay to buy Slurpees again.
**** UPDATE: 7-Eleven’s Janey Carpenter also sends this statement:
In response to your email, the agreement with Citgo only allows us to use their signage until we have re-branded all of our gasoline locations. Effective midnight September 30, 7-Eleven, Inc. will no longer be purchasing its gasoline from Citgo.
Again, this is great news. I’ll Slurp to that. (No juvenile sex jokes, please.)
Tags: America, Bud Hedinger, California, CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Consumer Affairs Manager, Eleven Inc., Frontier Oil Corporation, gas canopies, gas canopy, gas stations, gasoline convenience-retail locations, Houston, Hugo Chavez, Janey Carpenter, oil, Orlando, Pat Campbell, President, Salt Lake City, Sinclair Oil of Salt Lake City, Slurpees, Torrance, United Nations, United States, Venezuela, WFLA-AM