Let me assure you that's inaccurate. There are refineries owned by the top-tier brands (e.g., Chevron), 2nd tier brands (e.g., Valero), independent refineries (becoming less common) and joint ventures.
Also, even the top-tier brands will on occasion buy on the spot market if economics/demand dictate. They simply buy a specific spec and may or may not have to blend it with something before it hits their retail outlets.
Originally Posted by M3forMe
I heard something to the fact that maybe like 3 companies own all the refineries. All the different banners out there roll up to these 3.
Not sure if that is accurate but I had heard that.
The one thing I do know that if it is not a corporate owned store, the gas is not always the same. They can buy gas "off the rack" so marketing does come into play.
I think I would spend more time making sure to go to a busy station not what station to ensure you do not get stale gas.