It is tough to select one format. Oil companies use a number of different retail formats, depending on their geographical location:
- Corporate retail: In this retail format, multiple stores are owned by the same owner. In general, oil companies have a large number of company-owned retail stores. This retail format is very popular in India and a number of other developing countries.
- Chain retail: A large number of fueling stations in the US are owned by companies who have established their own brand and purchase the oil from one company or refining company and sell it under their own brand.
- Franchise retail: In this retail format, an independent entrepreneur signs a contract with a company to sell a particular brand of oil and also use the brand name. Almost half of the oil stores in the US are working on this mode and carry the name of one of the major oil companies or refining company.
- Hypermarket retail: These are large stores that also sell oil as part of their business. Costco and Safeway are prominent hypermarket (or supermarket) retailers that sell oil. Fred Meyer has also started selling oil.
The oil industry is evolving in different parts of world, with major companies pulling out of retail business and focusing on production and refining, while the hypermarkets are filling the void.