Work In Progress – Boyett Petroleum

Work In Progress
It depends on how you count, a bit, but 1940 officially marks the 75th anniversary of Boyett Petroleum.

“Our credit report says we were founded in 1940, so…” Boyett Petroleum CEO Carl Boyett says with a laugh.

The business got its start in the years following World War II, when members of the Boyett family became partners in several local gas stations. In the 1950s the family’s reach grew, as they became involved in the Barbour chain of gas stations. And in 1962, the Boyett family bought a chain of their own.

It’s always been a family business. Dale Boyett, Carl’s son, is now the company’s president. He recalls a youth spent riding his bike to work at the family’s gas stations, and summers learning the business as a salesman on the road.

If there’s been one constant through the company’s history, it’s their steady, constant growth.

“One site at a time,” Dale Boyett said. “One customer at a time.”

It’s been difficult to be an independent gas station at times, competing with the Chevrons and Exxons of the world. So Boyett Petroleum has employed several different sales tactics through the years. In 1953, the Boyetts gave away a Cadillac every three months.

The stigma of independent gas stations is mostly gone now. Carl Boyett notes that everyone’s gasoline is the same, made by the same refineries, and only differs in additives. Even those additives are the same, he says.

“They aren’t the same name, but they all do the same thing,” Carl Boyett said.

So what sets Boyett Petroleum apart? What makes them successful?

“That’s a good question,” Carl Boyett said with a smile. “We don’t know.”

Dale Boyett quickly lists the appeal of Boyett’s 55 gas stations: professional, clean, trustworthy service. It’s those traits that draw consumers to Boyett’s stations, most of which are known as Cruisers following a huge rebranding effort that Dale Boyett calls “the hardest thing we ever did.”

And that doesn’t begin to mention the more than 500 gas stations Boyett sells gasoline to. In total, Boyett sells 400 millions of gasoline a year – 2.5 percent of the gasoline sold statewide – to stations bearing brands like Arco, Valero, and 76.

Boyett parlays their operational knowledge to help the stations they sell to. The company processes back office transactions for 60 to 70 stations, and helped renovate three convenience stores.

And Boyett’s impact now stretches nationwide, through its CRUISE AmeriCard. The fleet fueling card can be used only for gasoline or vehicle-related expenses at nearly any gas station, making it easy for fleet managers to track spending.

The Boyetts find time to give back to the community, too, through their Make Dreams Real Foundation. Boyett Petroleum underwrites an annual three-site golf tournament that raises more than $250,000 per year. All proceeds go to an endowment fund, maintained by the Stanislaus Community Foundation, and 10 percent of the fund’s balance is awarded annually to Stanislaus County children’s programs. The grant funding sends kids to camp and supports about 14 local organizations.

Carl Boyett won Robert J Cardoza Citizen of the year, the Chambers 101st Annual Gala Member’s Choice Award.

After 75 years of growth and increasing national relevancy, the company is still based in Modesto, right on McHenry Avenue. And there’s no thought of changing that.

“That’s where we live,” Carl Boyett said.

Visit for more information on the Make Dreams Real Golf Tournament.