Interesting Historical Facts
The company that makes Phillips 66 gasoline began in 1917 as Phillips Petroleum Company, founded by L.E. Phillips and Frank Phillips of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. In 1927, the company's gasoline was being tested on U.S. Highway 66 in Oklahoma, and when it turned out that the car was going 66 mph (106 km/h), the company decided to name the new fuel Phillips 66.
The first Phillips 66 service station opened November 19, 1927, in Wichita, Kansas. The first station to be built in Texas was built in 1929 at McLean. Both of these stations have been preserved by local historical societies.
Logo - The Phillips 66 shield logo, created for its link to the highway of the same number, was introduced in 1930 in a black and orange color scheme that would last nearly 30 years. In 1959, Phillips introduced a revised version of the shield in red, white and black, a color scheme still used by ConocoPhillips for the brand.
Old-fashioned Phillips 66 station in Bassett, Nebraska
From the late 1930s until the 1960s, Phillips employed registered nurses as "Highway Hostesses," who made periodic and random visits to Phillips 66 stations within their regions. The women inspected station restroom facilities to ensure they were well cleaned and stocked. The Highway Hostesses also served as ambassadors for the company by directing motorists to suitable dining and lodging facilities.
Motor oil - Phillips was among the first oil companies to introduce a multi-grade motor oil, TropArtic, in 1954. Such motor oils were designed to be used year-round in automobile engines, as opposed to single grades for which different grades of motor oils were recommended to meet weather variances.
Gas stations - Phillips also had gasoline stations in Canada's western provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan under the name Pacific 66 until the late 1970s. In 1946, Phillips purchased the Utah-based Wasatch Oil Co., bringing the Phillips 66 brand to the northern Rocky Mountain states and the far eastern portions of Oregon and Washington. In 1966, Phillips entered the West Coast market by purchasing Tidewater Oil Company's refining and marketing properties in that region and rebranding all Flying A distributorships and service stations to Phillips 66.
In 1967, Phillips became the nation's second oil company, after Texaco, to sell and market gasoline in all 50 states, by opening a Phillips 66 station in Anchorage, Alaska. However, Phillips' experiment in 50-state marketing was short-lived. The company withdrew from gasoline marketing in the northeastern U.S. in 1972 (although it has been returning; for example, there is a Phillips 66 in Westport, Connecticut and Hadley, Massachusetts), and sold the former Tidewater properties on the West Coast to The Oil & Shale Corporation (Tosco) in 1976. Today, Phillips 66 primarily operates in the Midwest and Southwest, evidenced by its sponsorship of the Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament dating back to its Big Eight days.
Marketing - The advertising slogan from circa 1973 until the ConocoPhillips merger was "The Performance Company," promoting not only the performance of Phillips 66 gasoline and other petroleum products, but also innovations with asphaltic materials, fertilizers and other non-automotive products. Other slogans through the years have included: "Go first-class... go Phillips 66", "The gasoline that won the West", "Good things for cars and the people who drive them", "Hard working gas", and "At Phillips 66, it's performance that counts". Their current slogan (July 2011) is "Experts in gas since 1927".
Phillips 66 also was a long-time supporter of PBS programming for most of the 1980's. It provided funding for shows such as: A.M. Weather, The Search for Solutions, and Onstage with Judith Somogi.