Celebrating 125 years of serving Aotearoa

This year marks the 125th anniversary of Mobil’s presence in New Zealand
Over the last 125 years, Mobil’s service to Aotearoa has continually evolved to keep pace with customer needs. 

In 1896 one of Mobil’s precursors, the Vacuum Oil Company of New York expanded its marketing operation into New Zealand with John Taylor as its local agent.

Vacuum was already a sophisticated, professionally managed, multinational enterprise that had refineries and integrated marketing.

Vacuum, with its unrivalled mineral lubricant product and service quickly dominated the New Zealand market, and when New Zealanders began to adopt the motorcar in the first decade of the twentieth century, Vacuum expanded into the fuels business. As demand grew Vacuum expanded and already prior to World War One it had an in depth network of marketers supplemented by fewer agents. 

Vacuum’s level of commitment to marketing in New Zealand was demonstrated during World War One. Vacuum was the only oil company that managed to consistently supply the country’s fuel and lubricant demands and it held around 85 percent of both markets.

During the 1920s real competition came from the setting up of marketing operations by other multinationals. This competition hastened in the 1930s, but after a brief price war in 1933, the Coalition Government passed price control legislation to protect a domestic marketing operation. Price control under the legislation was introduced from 1936 and expanded through until deregulation in 1988.

The company set up a distinct New Zealand subsidiary in 1952 and after a period as the Standard-Vacuum Oil Company (New Zealand) Ltd, became Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited in 1962. 

Mobil has a century and a quarter’s record of service in Aotearoa, which has included supply, marketing, manufacturing and retailing of Mobil’s high-quality lubricants, fuels, as well as numerous other petroleum-related products.

Today Mobil quality fuels are sold at over 170 Mobil-branded service stations located all over Aotearoa, from Kaitaia to Invercargill.