Arco gas stations to disappear from the scene *

* Update: News of Arco's demise greatly exaggerated

The Arco name has been around the Los Angeles area for a long time — for 46 years, Mary Ann Milbourn reports at the OC Register. They will begin changing over in April to USA Gasoline outlets. Left unclear is whether the new stations will keep Arco's niche at the low-cost end of the market.

BP, which has owned Arco since 2000, is not renewing its leases with Thrifty Oil Co. at 257 station sites, according to a BP statement.

The company has notified its Arco franchisees, who sublet the sites from BP, that they will have to give up their stations as their leases expire over the next two years, according to the station owners. Some franchisees who lease through BP but operate under the Thrifty brand also will be out....

The move by BP has set off a firestorm of protest among the 106 Arco franchisees, many of whom own multiple stations and stand to lose their entire investment. About 2,000 Arco workers also will lose their jobs...

It also raises questions about what will happen to gasoline prices when Arco, known as the low-price leader, is no longer in the market.

More by Kevin Roderick:
'In on merit' at USC
Read the memo: LA Times hires again
Read the memo: LA Times losing big on search traffic
Google taking over LA's deadest shopping mall
Gustavo Arellano, many others join LA Times staff
Recent Mobility stories on LA Observed:
LAX and Metro, partners for jobs
Elon Musk close to drilling under Pico and Sepulveda
LA streets are contested space where no improvement goes unpunished
Swing shift
Shop at a Metro station
Symphony for auto
Questions big and small for Measure M
California Incline redo in timelapse