Houston, Texas -- As gasoline prices ratchet up past the $4-a-gallon mark, the oil industry is preparing a more luxurious way to present its increasingly costly product to consumers.
"Think expensive fragrances, top-shelf liquor and premium cosmetic formulas," said John "Wildcat" Crenshaw, Vice President of the Petroleum Marketers Association.
"They're not pumped and purchased like raw sewage. They're bottled in designer glass, packaged in attractive wrappings, and branded with memorable names and taglines.
"When gas reaches $5 a gallon, it joins the list of a luxury items. That means we've got to give it the same treatment."
Crenshaw previewed the branding efforts of several major oil corporations. Shell Oil will be offering a faux crystal decanter that carries the brand name "Extinction" and the slogan "Refined from 100% white meat dinosaur."
Chevron will be bottling its fuel in "futuristic/retro" containers under the "Dilithium" brand. "Warping without the whining" is the enterprising tagline here.
Exxon-Mobil's entry into luxury gas branding is called "Tiger," in tribute to when Exxon used to invite drivers to "put a tiger in your tank."
The gas comes in a fiberglass tiger head vessel. And for every 100 gallons purchased, an actual tiger will be "rescued" from the wild so it can "run away" with a circus. "Exxon just loves to find ways to piss off PETA," Crenshaw explained.
British Petroleum is taking a more realistic approach, marketing its gas in gallon metal drums that resemble the barrels in which refined oil is transported. Sold under the "Gusher" brand-name, BP's luxury product will carry the slogan "Don't spill. Don't tell."
Crenshaw finished his presentation by pointing out the cost of the proposed packaging will raise the price of gas to over $10 a gallon.
"That actually is an advantage," he said. "The higher the price, the more luxurious the product, which justifies our luxury branding. Besides, if the oil companies are selling less gallons, they need to make higher profits on every gallon they do sell. That makes luxury a necessity."