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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

United Oil Company Service Stations in California

October 26th, 2012 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Lisa Layne Heckaman

Los Angeles based United Oil Company began incorporating modern architecture and unique interior design elements into their Southern California service stations in the early 80’s, shifting the way consumers experience pumping gas. Since then, the Company has redefined the service station Industry, creating flagship designs, using top-line materials such as hand cut slate, molded copper, and eclectic themes – all influences driven by the architectural vision of United Oil Co. vice president, Jeff Appel. The privately owned, family-run business recently celebrated 50 years in business, and are known for creating incredibly clean, vibrant, and artistic gas stations throughout Southern California – now operating 124 stations to date.

Image Courtesy Erman Smith

  • Architects: Jon Enache, United Oil Co., 2012
  • Project: United Oil Company Service Stations
  • Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Image Courtesy Erman Smith

In the early 1980’s, United Oil service stations introduced new landscaping elements such as unique flooring, pillars, colors, foliage, bougainvillea, and eccentric animal sculptures into the overall planning of future stations. This was the start of Appel’s modern vision for United Oil venues – for consumers to experience a unique atmosphere at an otherwise typically mundane A to B gas station, and be inspired.

Image Courtesy Erman Smith

“Each location inspires me differently,” says United Oil vice president, Jeff Appel. “I have a genuine passion and keen interest with Architecture – each station offers tremendous potential for creativity, localization, modernism and an innovative spirit which helps shape our future and fuel our growth at each location.”   Select United Oil service stations are notable for its use of clean lines, glass, natural and manufactured resources, and use of localizing indoor and outdoor spaces.  Incorporating local influences into the overall vision of a station, combined with the adaptive use of inventive materials, modern construction techniques, local Architects, and new technologies – has positioned the Company as innovators in those respective fields.

Image Courtesy Erman Smith

Besides architecturally inspired efforts, United Oil includes energy efficient technology into select stations. They recently unveiled a new service station featuring pumps powered with unique Panasonic HIT Double® solar panels as a canopy to help provide power to the store and its pumps for their new “Rapid 84” gas station in Cerritos, California. Panasonic HIT Double panels are unique because they produce energy from sunlight on both the top surface, like normal solar panels, and also from the bottom surface, from scattered and reflected light. The bifacial solar canopy is expected to provide about 75% of the station’s annual energy needs.

Image Courtesy Erman Smith

One particular station, Rapid 03, is decked out with Jetson’s like architecture, located at the busy corner of La Brea and Slauson in Los Angeles. The circular ramps, roller coaster-like design combines futuristic lines adorned with chrome lighting – creating more of an attraction, rather than a gas station.

Image Courtesy Erman Smith

Another station, Apro 2 Appel looked to Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi to inspire the pink and blue windowpanes, with designing a 26-foot tower on-site, utilizing imported Italian tiles, and with creating a glass adorned waterfall as an exterior feature. Another stand out station, Apro 31, includes a western themed antique barrel, old ore wagons as props behind the cash register, and aligned along the exterior of another station, concrete wooden planks create an elaborate Wild-Wild-West theme. Other stations include Mediterranean influences with hand painted murals from local graffiti artists, hand blown glass fixtures to create mood lighting, and rustic color palettes that blend convenience with modern interior designs.

Image Courtesy Erman Smith

United Oil has steadily expanded over the past 50 years, and today owns over 100 stations, making it one of the largest independent gas retailers in California. The company also owns a number of stations leased under the brands Chevron, Conoco 76, Shell and Arco. United Oil is a gasoline wholesaler operating 17 tanker trucks, and is known to charge three cents less than its competitors per gallon.

Image Courtesy Erman Smith

Additionally, United Oil Co. spearheads a number of community initiatives throughout the year, including the annual  ‘I Got It Makes Cents for Charity’ campaign, an effort to garner awareness for 501c 3 organizations that are in need of funding. In 2009, United Oil donated $24,000 to Haven House, a domestic violence shelter that helps abused women and their children, and in 2010, United Oil donated $80,000 to Operation Smile, who provides free surgeries to repair facial deformities for children around the globe. Last year’s winner of the I Got It Makes Cents campaign, went to the Community Distribution Center (CDC) that provides food for Southern California food banks. The 2012 Contest is now underway, with over 50 non-profit organizations nominated to win the funding.

United Oil has also entered into the digital space with the implementation of an in-house production studio located at the corporate headquarters. The studio produces high-quality training and management videos for employees, and produces content for the 24/7 “GSTV” (Gas Station TV) digital Television Network, that can be seen when pumping gas at various United Oil owned locations. This past spring, United Oil launched a unique mobile application that features specific locations, merchandise specials, deals and current gas prices at all of their locations. The United Oil Co App is available to download on iTunes and in the Android Store. For further information about the United Oil Company, visit


United Oil Co., uniting the brands you trust, was started over 50 years ago as a small, family owned company operating a handful of gas stations in Los Angeles. Since then, the Company has grown in size while maintaining its tradition of exceptional service, retailing excellence and value.  United Oil Co.’s first class retail facilities are operated with the belief that it is more important to provide the customer with a pleasant buying experience, rather than just another visit to a gas station. Today the company operates 124 retail stations comprised of 51 United Oil Stations, 26 Chevron Stations, 53 Conoco “76” Stations, as well as select Shell Stations throughout Southern California from San Diego to Ventura County. While pride of ownership is apparent when one visits a United Oil Co. owned retail outlet, it is the mission of the Company to educate employees with the “I Got It!” philosophy; a mission that promotes kindness and respect for others. For more information, please visit

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Categories: Oil Stations, Petrol Station, Service Station

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