Motorway Services Online

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Motorway services are still open for snacks, fuel and toilets - more details.


Locations:10 MSAs
Predecessors:Mobil, Total
Successors:BP, Maxol, Topaz

Esso is the brand used by ExxonMobil, derived from its previous name, Standard Oil. Esso filling stations allow customers to gain Nectar points when they fill up with fuel or purchase a shop item.

They are known for advertising campaigns including "Bom, Bom, Esso Blue" and "put a tiger in your tank", as well as the famous Tiger Tokens promotion. Evidence of tiger-branding can still be found at some of their garages. Esso's 'price watch' campaign from 1995 even applied on the motorways, and Esso motorway forecourts were briefly charging competitive fuel prices, although rural sites only ever tried to compete with forecourts within a one mile radius.

Esso ceased trading in Northern Ireland, with many garages becoming Maxol. In the Republic, many Esso garages became Topaz.

In Britain, Esso were the first company to sell unleaded fuel.

As A Motorway Operator

See also: Taverna

In the early 1960s, Esso had refused to become the operator of any motorway service areas. They then put in a surprise ambitious bid for Heston, which was rejected on the assumption they weren't really interested.

Worried that they would lose Port petrol station to the new motorway, Esso agreed to run it as a motorway service area, and developed the brand name Taverna under which to do it. Taverna went on to build several new services, but then they sold them in 1973.

Esso entered a partnership with Top Rank in 1980, opening several new service area with them.

In the 1990s, service stations were de-regulated. With a new-found interest, Esso applied to build a number of major, new motorway services. They would usually outsource the main facilities to Granada. As a result Esso were actually the impetus behind many of Granada's busiest service areas, including Thurrock, Cherwell Valley and Stafford. Esso have since sold many of these.

Many of Esso's applications made at this time were unsuccessful, so we don't know for sure how those would have worked. Examples of those include Stumps Cross and Duxford, Longbridge, Lower Kingswood, Meon and Swinford.

Esso Motor Hotel

Separate to Taverna, in 1963 Esso opened their first Esso Motor Hotel in Sweden in 1963. This chain came to Britain in 1966, but it remained functionally separate from Esso's petrol stations and motorway services. The hotels were positioned in urban areas and aimed at businessmen.

In 1972 Esso needed to raise funds, so they leased most of the hotels to Crest Hotels, ending the Esso Motor Hotel name in the UK.


See also: Mobil

In 1998, Mobil merged with Esso to form ExxonMobil. The Mobil brand could be found at many service areas (including several which they owned outright).

Following the merger, BP acquired all of Mobil's former petrol stations in Britain. The Mobil brand is still used outside Europe.


Esso On The Run.
An On the Run shop.

Like the other major forecourt operators, Esso owned and operated several filling stations, which were all sold off by the Autumn of 2015. These 450 stations were operated under the name ROC.

ROC garages were sold to Euro Garages, MRH and Rontec. The stores were previously branded as either On the Run or Snack and Shop. On the Run, which was the branding for the larger stores, usually included a Costa and a seating area. Snack and Shop was the branding for the smaller stores, and each store was essentially a kiosk which sold a few necessities and either Kenco, Coffee Nation or Costa Express.

Former ROC locations

The following motorway filling stations were operated by ROC. These include former Tavernas, and motorway sites developed by Esso, as well as others. They were all Snack and Shops (except where marked), and have all been sold on.


Esso price watch tiger sign.
An Esso 'price watch'/tiger sign.

Esso can be found at some service areas. They are: [view on a map -  Download KMLrefine search]

A-road Services

Former Locations

Esso has been removed from the following official service areas:

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