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7-Eleven Drops Citgo Brand Earlier Than Expected

7-Eleven says that it will no longer sell Citgo gasoline, a decision that appears to be partly motivated by fear that anti-American comments made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez last week might prompt motorists to fill up elsewhere. Citgo is a subsidiary of Venezuela's state-run oil company. "Regardless of politics, we sympathize with many Americans' concern over derogatory comments about our country and its leadership recently made by Venezuela's president," says 7-Eleven spokeswoman Margaret Chabris. Citgo has been 7-Eleven's gasoline supplier for more than 20 years, but the chain has been considering creating its own brand of fuel since at least early last year. Some analysts suggest that 7-Eleven may be hyping the political angle as a way to curry favor with U.S. consumers. "They just didn't want to be tied to one supplier," says one analyst. 7-Eleven, which sells gasoline at 2,100 of its 5,300 U.S. stores, will now purchase fuel from several distributors, including Tower Energy Group of Torrance, Calif., Sinclair Oil of Salt Lake City, and Houston-based Frontier Oil (FTO).



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