United Refining Company

The United Refining Company (URC) is an oil company in Warren, Pennsylvania. The company operates an oil refinery in Warren that can process 70,000 barrels of oil into gasoline, diesel fuel and other petroleum distillates per day.[1] It distributes gasoline under the Kwik Fill and Keystone brands. In early 2019, the American Automobile Association noted that Warren had the most expensive gasoline in Western Pennsylvania, despite the presence of the refinery in the town and a gasoline station just outside the refinery, the root cause of which remains undetermined.[2]

United Refining Company
TypePrivate
IndustryOil and natural gas, Convenience stores
Founded1902
HeadquartersWarren, Pennsylvania, United States
Area served
Ohio, Pennsylvania,
and New York
Key people
John Catsimatidis (CEO)
James E. Murphy (CFO)
Myron L. Turfitt (COO)
ProductsPetroleum and derived products
SubsidiariesKwik Fill
Country Fair, Inc.
Websitewww.urc.com

HistoryEdit

 
Kwik Fill sign, January 2013

The United Refining Company was founded in 1902 by Harry Logan, Sr. His son, Harry Logan, Jr., succeeded his father as president and chairman of United Refining in 1957. In 1981, John Catsimatidis acquired United Refining as a subsidiary of his Red Apple Group.

As of 1935, the company had a pair of marketing subsidiaries, Emblem Oil Company and Red Star Lubrication Service Incorporated, which distributed Keystone Gasoline and Emblem Motor Oils, respectively.[3]

The refinery was expanded from 60,000 barrels per day (9,500 m3/d) to 65,000 barrels per day (10,300 m3/d) in 1982. It was expanded again to have a processing capacity of 70,000 barrels per day (11,000 m3/d) in 2007. The employees of the Warren refinery are represented by the International Union of Operating Engineers.

CitgoEdit

URC acquired the rights to use the name Citgo in 2002 when it bought a local gas station and convenience store chain called Country Fair, Inc. in Erie, Pennsylvania which included a license agreement to use "Citgo's brands, trademarks and other forms of identification."[4][5]

After Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's speech to the United Nations, there were calls to boycott the Citgo brand.[5] In response, URC began phasing out that brandname,[5] and has been emphasizing that its crude oil supply comes from North America. URC also continued rebranding its product under the Kwik Fill and other local names.[6]

Alternate energyEdit

United Refining blends ethanol with its gasoline in accordance with the Energy Policy Act.

Conflicting InterestsEdit

Since United Refining Company supplies the majority of gas stations in Warren County with fuel, they essentially set the price point for every station in the area. Despite the area being economically depressed, with a median household income of approx. $32,000 per year and 14% of the population at or below the poverty line, gasoline prices remain among the highest in the entire state. Gasoline sold in Erie, although being trucked 3-5 times further, is regularly sold at $0.10 to $0.15 cheaper per gallon than within Warren County. Additionally, while PA has an extreme gas tax of $0.50 per gallon, the same gas purchased in Ohio is typically 60-70 cents cheaper than most Country Fairs and Kwik Fills in NW PA. This indicates that United may be pocketing about $0.47 per gallon, just because they control the pricing. There seems to be no one in a position of authority willing to talk about this. This raises concerns about their willingness to profit at the expense of the greater community.[7]

Convenience storesEdit

 
Map of Country Fair & Kwik Fill/Red Apple locations as of February 2021.

United Refining Company distributes its oil through its line of owned-and-operated convenience stores, totaling approximately 375 throughout upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and Northeast Ohio. The stores operate under the names Kwik Fill, Red Apple, or Country Fair. Many Kwik Fill locations, like the one in the photo above, are full-service, meaning they pump your gas for you.

ReferencesEdit

 
The United Refinery in Warren, Pennsylvania
  1. ^ Carroll, Jim (May 10, 2007). "United Refining hikes capacity". Erie Times-News.
  2. ^ Last, John (29 January 2019). "Warren Tops the List for Most Expensive Gasoline in Western Pennsylvania". Erie News Now. Erie, Pennsylvania: Lilly Broadcasting. Retrieved 5 Sep 2020.
  3. ^ "United Refining Company Has Effective Display in Warren Nat'l Bank Lobby". Warren Times-Mirror. 35. Warren, Pennsylvania. 29 April 1934. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ Martin, Jim (January 1, 2002). "Warren, Pa.-based United Refining buys convenience store chain Country Fair". Erie Times-News.
  5. ^ a b c Carroll, Jim (October 11, 2006). "Comments spark call for Citgo boycott". Erie Times-News.
  6. ^ "Citgo signs coming down in response to Venezuelan leader's remarks". WSTM-TV. Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved July 18, 2007.
  7. ^ https://www.thebalance.com/why-are-gas-prices-so-high-3305653

External linksEdit