Our History

Sunoco's Story

The Beginning in Ohio

Sunoco got its start on March 27, 1886, when Joseph Newton Pew and Edward O. Emerson, partners in The Peoples Natural Gas Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, made a bold move to diversify their business.

Within a few years, the company had acquired pipelines, leases and storage tanks – and was emerging as one of Ohio’s leading suppliers of crude oil. On March 17, 1890, it became The Sun Oil Company of Ohio and was producing, transporting and storing oil as well as refining, shipping and marketing petroleum products.

Years of Innovation

In 1916, the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company was established, a subsidiary that took the company into the shipbuilding business. In 1920, Sun opened its first service station in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, and then another in Toledo, Ohio. The name changed to Sun Oil Company in 1922 to better identify the company with its business. On November 12, 1925, Sun went public – its stock appearing for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange.

Before the decade was over, Sun was in the oilfield equipment business with the 1929 formation of Sperry-Sun, a joint venture with Sperry Gyroscope. One of the most dramatic events of the 1930s for the company – and the refining industry – took place when Sun placed on stream the world’s first large-scale, commercial catalytic cracking plant in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, in 1937.

The mining business attracted Sun in 1941, when Sun formed the Cordero Mining Company in Nevada to supply mercury for Sunoco motor oils. The metal proved vital during the World War II effort. So, too, did Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company – which turned out 40% of all wartime tankers built or reconverted.

Expanding North and South

The company expanded north and south in the 1950s. In Canada, Sun started a 15,000-barrels-per-day refinery in Sarnia, Ontario. And, in Venezuela beginning in 1957, Venezuelan Sun Oil Company produced more than 1 billion barrels of oil from Lake Maracaibo before ceasing operations in 1975 when the Venezuelan government nationalized Sun’s holdings.

Back in the States, 1958 was the year Sun introduced the Custom Blending Pump, a novel system for dispensing a choice of five octane grades of gasoline from a single pump. It revolutionized the method of marketing gasoline, and a model of the pump is on display at the Smithsonian Institution.

Sun Reshapes – and Later Renames

Major restructuring reshaped the company in 1975, when it organized into 14 operating units, two property companies and a non-operating parent company. This was accompanied by a move to new corporate headquarters in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Reflecting the diversification of the company, Sun Oil Company was renamed Sun Company, Inc., in 1976.

Sunoco, the Racing Fuel of Choice

Sunoco raised the visibility of its brand significantly in 2004 with a long-term deal to be the Official Fuel of NASCAR®. Already the authorized gasoline manufacturer for more than 30 racing series, Sunoco added NASCAR’s Sprint, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck series to that list. More recently, Sunoco established a partnership to become the Official Fuel of INDYCAR, the most popular open-wheel racing league in North America.

Today, Sunoco is known as a company on the move -- constantly innovating, evolving, and always delivering. Sunoco has served its shareholders, customers and employees well for over 125 years and continues to be the premier provider of transportation fuels in its markets.

Sunoco Joins Energy Transfer Partners

In 2012, Sunoco transformed its business to focus on logistics and transportation fuels and then merged with Energy Transfer Partners, one of the largest natural gas and natural gas distribution companies in the United States. A Texas-based energy company that began in 1995 as a small intrastate natural gas pipeline company, Energy Transfer is now one of the country’s fastest-growing natural gas and natural gas liquids transportation companies with widespread business operations that are highly regarded throughout the energy industry and the investment community. Energy Transfer owns and operates a diversified portfolio of energy assets. Our operations include the gathering, treating, processing, marketing and transportation of natural gas and natural gas liquids.