Waterloo BP station switches brands - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo BP station switches brands

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WATERLOO (KWWL)-- It's been just more than 6 months since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.  The rig, operated by BP, released some 185 million gallons of crude oil.  Oil continued to gush for three months until BP successfully stopped the leak in September.

Coincidentally, this week, a Waterloo BP service station officially switched brands, becoming a shell station.  But despite speculation, Jim Lind says he did not get rid of his BP brand because of the oil spill.  He insists that the switch was all about customer satisfaction and that the Shell company simply offered a better deal.

Things are looking a bit different these days around the Jim Lind service station near Kimball and Ridgeway in Waterloo.  The most noticeable changes for customers are the new Shell logo and employees wearing red and gold.

"We had some great opportunities for our customers with Shell, one being a 93 octane premium gasoline, which BP didn't offer," Lind said.

Back in May when we visited the same service station, customers had mixed feelings about continuing to fuel up with BP gasoline.  But most of them didn't want to punish the station's owner for BP's disaster.

"It makes me sick, and I'm really upset about it. But I'm not going to take my business away from Jim," said customer Joan Schreiner back in May.

But now, customers at the station won't have to worry about whether or not they're patronizing the BP brand. Lind says the switch to Shell will also allow for a new alternative fuel aisle.

"We're going to give our customers the opportunity to try the E85 and then four other variations of it.  What's nice about it, of course, is that it's fuel made right here in Iowa.  And it's fuel that will cost less for our customers," Lind said.

And Lind hopes any customers who may have turned their backs on the BP brand might now feel comfortable coming to his business.

While Jim Lind says the BP oil spill did not affect his decision to switch brands, several other stations across the country have abandoned their BP brand because they lost business following the spill. 

Most service stations do sign lengthy contracts with their brand, but BP has not disclosed how many of those deals are set to expire this year.

Meanwhile, BP has begun what it is calling "phase three" of its deep beach cleaning operations.  Large sifters are churning up the sand at Orange Beach, Alabama.  The machines sort out any items, like tar balls, that don't belong.  The machines then sift the cleaned sand back to the beaches.  BP officials say the cleaning could last several more months.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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