Petrol – Keeping a British family moving

murcoDespite what you may think about the oil companies generally, until there is an alternative we are stuck paying extortionate sums of money to, what appear to be, companies with moral compasses pointed directly south. Given that, as a family, we still need to power 1 car and 6 motorbikes (despite what my wife says – all of the bikes are very much needed), we will continue be beholden to these companies for some time to come. However, how hard is it to buy British when it comes to petrol?

After a little research, it would seem remarkably easy to buy British when it comes to filling-up at the pumps. The big hitters are obviously BP, who are one of the so called “supermajors” of the oil and gas industry and still head quartered in the UK after more than 100 years. The next on the list are Murco, headquartered in St.Albans. They own over 230 petrol stations in the UK, including the brands Petrol Express and Costcutter.

These two brands appear to be the only two that refine their own petroleum and so score highly on the Britishness scale.

Other British brands that simply own petrol station forecourts and resell petroleum are; Asda, Tesco and Sainsburys’.  These three brands buy their petrol from various international oil companies and sell it on. Take Tesco, for example, they resell petrol refined by American company ExxonMobil.

For the purposes of this project we will attempt to buy our petrol from BP or Murco. However, in times of desperation Asda, Tesco and Sainsburys’ is acceptable. We will let you know how this goes.

– James


  1. Refining their “own” petroleum is one thing but where does the petroleum originate – it is very highly UNLIKELY that it will be from the UK?

  2. Whoa !!!!! You have made a BIG mistake on the Tesco issue. Tesco categorically do NOT get their fuel supplies from ExxonMobil. An example- Tesco sell a high octane unleaded fuel called ‘Momentum’ (previously known as ‘Tesco 99′) which is a 99RON fuel. ExxonMobil (a grossly UN-ethical American company), whos’ fuel is sold in the UK under the Esso brand, does not sell 99RON fuel (its highest grade is 97RON, and to the best of my knowledge, have no facilities in the UK to produce 99RON fuel).

    Tescos fuel is actually supplied by an independant British oil company called Greenergy ( Greenergy were the first oil company in the UK to produce low-carbon ‘bio’ fuels, leading the way with bioethanol blends in traditional oil-based petrols. Greenergy is now part-owned by Tesco plc.

    Asda and Sainburys buy their fuels (which are lower quality compared to Greenergy or any of the other branded fuels) from any of the refineries around the UK.

    Best regards, Sean, Automotive Engineering Technician.

  3. please boycott BP after their disastrous handling of the gulf of mexico oil spill they are more a transnational company than a british one. i try to use murco there’s one not too far from me.

    • Sean, Automotive Engineering Technician says

      @ John – this really isn’t the place for needless mud-slinging – but your comment on the ‘BP’ oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is out of order.

      Yes, the oil platform in question was part-owned by BP (whom are a multi-national oil company – but still firmly rooted in the UK with their headquarters here in the UK). However, the major point you failed to mention is that the oil platform was OPERATED by three American companies, with their red-neck american people on the actual platform, with their cowboy-like cavalier attitude to operational safety. So ease up on the BP bashing.

      And to all who recommend Murco – where do they get their crude oil from? Do they have their own platforms in the North Sea, or are they buying crude from the likes of BP, Shell, Exxon, Statoil, etc?

      • well these ‘redneck american cowboys’ who operated the platform warned BP about the condition of it but were told to continue, don’t defend the indefensible. if you have any interest in this matter than watch this documentary on the subject.

  4. Dangerous Dave - Consumer says

    Your comment about ‘Greenergy were the first oil company in the UK to produce low-carbon ‘bio’ fuels, leading the way with bioethanol blends in traditional oil-based petrols’ is interesting and I’d be even more interested to know the bio-ethanol content in their unleaded and Super-unleaded (Momentum) petrol. Does anyone know this?

  5. Dangerous Dave says

    This sirte ( would suggest very close to 5% – but none of the brands (Esso, Tesco etc) display the E5 sign. This is important and surely contravenes EC regulations regarding displaying the sign, as there are a lot of vehicles on the road that cannot use this or E10 fuel – due to plastic fuel components, tanks (most modern motorbikes have plastic tanks), fuel connectors etc.

    This I’m sure will lead to an influx of compensation claims like the USA has seen recently.

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