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About Western States Oil Company
Western States Oil Company is a privately held, family-owned lubricants and fuels distribution business founded in San Jose, California by Thomas A. Lopes in July 1956. After graduating from San Jose State College in 1949, Tom worked for Standard Oil of California for two years driving a tank truck between San Jose and Redwood City, learning many facets of the oil distribution business.
In 1951 Tom decided to go to work for his father, Frank Lopes, who was a distributor for Signal Oil and Gas Company, a large independent Oil company based in Los Angeles, California. During this period Signal Oil Company was acquired by EXXON and it didn’t take long for Tom to figure out the only way he could get ahead in this business was to work for himself so he started his own company to become truly independent. Funny as it may seem, Tom hired his father away from Signal Oil and founded Western States Oil Company with two employees and a 900-gallon tank truck. The new company grew quickly as Tom started supplying some of the largest contractors and trucking companies that were enjoying the rapid growth of the Santa Clara Valley after the war. Due to increased demand for large deliveries of bulk fuel, in 1960 Tom started Spartan Tank Lines to handle full truck and trailer quantities of gasoline and diesel fuel.
In 1984 Tom’s sons, Steve and Jeff Lopes, joined the company to carry on the growth of the business and started by adding a bulk oil tank system to help them aggressively market lube oils, and hydraulic fluids. To complement the company’s two-site cardlock business Western became a franchisee for Pacific Pride which propelled the company’s automated fleet fueling business by joining hundreds of fueling sites in the Pacific Pride network. As time passed and the company continued its expansion Jeff Lopes decided in May 2019 to hang up the nozzle to take some time off to retire. It was at this time the company brought in Greg Michael, current president, to help Steve carry on the business.
Today the company operates two warehouses in the San Francisco bay area to support the company’s growing business with retail units, cardlocks, bobtail fuel deliveries, and full load transport trucks. The fuel business during the last 10 years has been on the cutting edge of introducing biofuels, renewable diesel fuel, and other environmentally green alternative products to help clear the air and improve the company’s bottom line and stay ahead of the evolving energy business.
As Steve Lopes happily acknowledges, Western States Oil Company would not be alive and well today if it wasn’t for the many hardworking, talented, and dedicated people in the company, many with long tenures making it the ongoing success story that it is today.
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