7-Eleven Dropping Venezuela-Backed Citgo As Its Gasoline Supplier
DALLAS (AP) -- 7-Eleven Inc. is dropping Venezuela-backed Citgo as its gasoline supplier after more than 20 years as part of a previously announced plan by the convenience store operator to launch its own brand of fuel.
7-Eleven officials said Wednesday that the company's decision was partly motivated by politics.
Citgo Petroleum Corp. is a Houston-based subsidiary of Venezuela's state-run oil company and 7-Eleven is worried that anti-American comments made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez might prompt motorists to fill-up elsewhere.
Chavez has called President George W. Bush the devil and an alcoholic. The U.S. government has warned that Chavez is a destabilizing force in Latin America.
"Regardless of politics, we sympathize with many Americans' concern over derogatory comments about our country and its leadership recently made by Venezuela's president," said 7-Eleven spokeswoman Margaret Chabris. "Certainly Chavez's position and statements over the past year or so didn't tempt us to stay with Citgo," she added.
Citgo was founded in 1910 as the Cities Service Co., according to the company Web site, and 7-Eleven's predecessor, The Southland Corp., bought Citgo from Occidental Petroleum in 1983. 7-Eleven sold half its interest in Citgo in 1986 and the remaining stake in 1990 to Petroleos de Venezuela SA.