Special maps logoWhere to buy Mobilgas
The Mobilgas Economy Run

Mobilgas only entered the UK service station market in 1952, although they had sold lubricants in Britain (initially as Vacuum Oil) since 1885. Concentrating mainly on the newer solus sites, that sold just one brand of fuel, Mobilgas soon established a network of over 1,000 service stations. By the time that the 32-page listing all Mobilgas stations booklet shown here was compiled on 19th March 1959, there were around 1,100 outlets, of which more than three-quarters sold only Mobil grades.

1959 Mobilgas British location booklet

1959 Mobilgas British location booklet (rear cover)

The Mobilgas Economy Run

As a relatively new entrant into the UK fuels market, Mobilgas needed a unique marketing concept. The solution was to run an annual Mobilgas Economy Run. Indeed, the idea was far from new, as the Economy Run had originated with Gilmore Gasoline in 1936 in California, and when Mobil's US parent company bought out Gilmore, they continued the annual event until 1968.

The rear cover of the location booklet promotes the English run and explains it thus:

The Mobilgas Economy Run is an annual event which demonstrates the excellent m.p.g. figures which can be obtained if a car is well maintained, well tuned, carefully driven and fuelled with Mobilgas Special. The drivers in the Mobilgas Economy Run pay particular attention to the following points in their driv­ing habits, and these contribute extensively to fuel economy-and safety, too:-


* Use the choke only when the engine is cold and release it as soon as possible. Warm the engine up on the move-it will warm up more quickly and you will use less petrol.
* Avoid fast starts-you can use up to 60% more petrol than with a smooth slow start.
* If you drive at 65 miles an hour you may be using twice as much petrol as at 35 miles per hour. Most cars give their most econo­mical top-gear performance between 35 and 45 miles per hour.
* Especially in the 10/20 miles per hour range, correct gear selection is another petrol saver. Use of an unnecessarily low gear can consume 50% more petrol.
* Anticipate hold-ups and bring your car gently to a standstill instead of braking fiercely at the last moment.
* Do not drive hard into a headwind-the amount of petrol used is out of all proportion to the gain in speed.
Start your own economy run today. If you could obtain just one mile more per gallon you could enjoy the equivalent of two weeks' free motoring a year-surely an important incentive.

The Mobil Economy Run ended in 1968 in the USA, but possibly a little later in Britain. In the 1970s it was taken over in the UK by Total, the large French company, but discontinued after a few more years. Total have run a similar Total Economy Run in South Africa since 1977 and this still offers a chance to see how fuel efficient normal cars can be when driven extremely carefully. In recent years Petron have established a similar event for motorcycles in the Philippines that is open to almost any motorcyclist who wishes to enter and there are numerous events not run by petrol companies, often also including electric or hydrogen fuelled vehicles.

Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 2005-11

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