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Navigation aidMajor brands of petrol with no known maps


Most major petrol brands in Europe are known to have issued at least some maps, but there are several others that were large enough to have done so for which I know of no maps. This web page will briefly list some of the main contenders and I would be particularly pleased to hear from anyone who has an example from one of the brands listed below. It excludes many of the more recent names from Eastern Europe or following the divestment of chains by international majors.

Please send me an e-mail with any additional information!

Atlantic, Arco
Abco, Aero, Gainsborough

Belgium, Britain, Italy, Portugal

The large US company Atlantic operated in Britain from the mid-1960s and had much older chains in Belgium, Italy, Portugal and possibly elsewhere, as well as in West Africa; a pre-war map is known from Italy, but no post-war ones are known. The British chain was small (under 100 outlets) and switched to the Arco brand in 1970 at the same time as in the US. Sinclair had owned two small chains under the Abco (Arthur Brown, formerly Aero) and Gainsborough brands and the first of these was also switched to Arco. The combined Arco & Gainsborough chains had about 450 outlets when sold to TOTAL in 1974.

Ultramar, Summit


Ultramar was a British-based oil and gas exploration company that moved into downstream activities in the US, Canada and England in the 1960s. Its UK subsidiary, Ultramar Golden Eagle, acquired the Summit brand and, at its peak (1982) sold petrol through just over 600 service stations under the Ultramar, Summit and Ultra Spar brands. In 1988 its retail activities were sold to Q8, and after the parent company was acquired by Lasmo the North American operations were floated off as a separate company. Q8 also acquired the smaller chains of Pace, Sadler and RP (Roberts Petroleum), for none of which are maps known, although Pace did sponsor a motor rallying book.

Ultramar station on A345 North Newton, Wiltshire, in 1983

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Britain, & Belgium

Isherwoods Petroleum was a successful Manchester-based discounter using the VIP name in Britain and the major rival to Conoco's Jet chain. In 1964 it was bought by Signal Oil Company who took the VIP name into Belgium, and in 1968 sold to Occidental Petroleum. Information about VIP's history is now included on the page devoted to Oxy group road maps.

ICI, Imperial


Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) started selling petrol in North-Eastern England in the early 1960s under the Imperial brand. By the end of the decade it had switched to the better known ICI name and the chain grew steadily to a peak of 475 stations in the mid-1980s. However, despite owning a Teesside refinery, petrol was not a core product so the chain was sold to Burmah in 1987. Imperial remains in use as a brand by Whitby-based W Eves & Son, a small former authorised distributor (jobber) for ICI, although by 2015 its stations were being slowly switched to Gulf.

ICI branded station in Swaffham, Norfolk in 1982


West Germany, Italy, Austria, Britain

As noted on the Jet page, Conoco’s Jet subsidiary has issued maps from time to time, and its predecessor in Germany (Sopi) also issued maps. But I know of no European Conoco maps from the late 1960s and early 1970s when Conoco was used on European service stations in Britain, Germany and Italy. Conoco maps are commonly found for the USA, and the Conoco logo does appear on some recent maps issued by its Scandinavian chain, even though the brand has never been used at service stations in those countries.

ABC, Permolio


These two unrelated brands each had about 500 service stations when acquired by Fina in the 1950s as part of its expansion in Italy. Permolio was S.A. Permanente Petroli and operated three small oil refineries built in the 1930s.

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Spica was another Italian petrol company that flourished up to the 1960s, before being acquired.
Smaller Italian names that may also have once had road maps include CIF Petroli (acquired by Total in the early 1960s, and possibly also operators of a small chain in Austria), APIR (bought by Gulf) and CLASA, which afer a period under its own brand became the Italian franchisee of the US company, Kendall before switching to the BP brand and finally selling out to AGIP in the 1970s. Sarom 99 was a substantial chain bought by BP in the early 1960s; it also operated a chain of service stations in Switzerland.



When BP left the unprofitable Italian market in 1973 it sold its outlets to the Monti group which introduced the Mach name at over 3,000 service stations. Mach too was unprofitable and the chain had to be rescued by the state in 1981 when the service stations were passed to the AGIP group.

Tamoil, Gatoil, HEM

Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Czech & Slovak Republics, Hungary
Tamoil Italia station, Perugia 2003 Gatoil Station, Geneva 1985 HEM station, Berlin 2003

Oilinvest (Netherlands) B.V. is a Libyan-controlled company with refining, distribution and marketing activities mainly under the TAMOIL brand name in several European countries and in Egypt. The Group owns three refineries as well as distribution networks for petroleum products in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Spain and Egypt.
Tamoil started out when a Saudi businessman, Roger Tamraz, acquired the loss-making Italian outlets of Amoco in the mid-1980s. These soon got further into debt, and were rescued in 1988 by Libyan interests, keen to secure a market for their oil products. In 1990, Tamoil added the 250 service stations of the Swiss firm Gatoil to their network, also previously owned by middle Eastern interests, and which had bought out the Swiss arms of Total and Texaco. The next market was Germany, where the independent names HEM and Germania were bought; HEM continues to be used as well as the Tamoil brand. In 1993, Tamoil acquired the 107 Dutch OK outlets, although again some unmanned sites still carry the OK branding. New chains were established in the Czech and Slovak republics, Hungary and Spain, although the first two were sold to Agip in 2002. In contrast, Tamoil expanded in Switzerland in the same year by buying the 165-strong Elf chain. Despite all this relatively recent activity, no Tamoil maps are known, unlike (say) Q8 which has sold maps in several of its markets.

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A chain of service stations under the RAP brand was operated by (I believe) the French state oil and gas exploration company (ERAP) until the latter’s reorganisation into Elf-ERAP in 1966. At that time the RAP stations switched to the Elf branding.
Elf also took control of several other regional independents, of which the largest were Glorex & Miroline (in North-West France and Brittany), Nervol (in South-West France), SAP (Northern & central France) and Lacq (based in the town when oil was found in the 1950s). No maps are known for any of these independent brands which mainly supplied smaller rural filling stations.



Erpag was a large domestic Swiss brand of petrol, acquired by Aral in the mid 1960s.



Olís bought BP’s Icelandic operation. Although very small, BP - like all other Iceland brands - issued road maps, so it is possibly that Olís may have done so as well. Olís is now controlled by the HydroTexaco joint venture.

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Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 2000-15

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.