New pages

New and improved pages on the
European Petrol Road Map Web Site

The webmaster's blog...

Coming Next..

I have sub-titled this page "The webmaster's blog", because in some ways that's what it is - and has been since 1999, when the word blog hadn't been invented! Of course it's not a true blog as it doesn't contain the images themselves, and readers can't answer back, except by good ol' e-mail. Equally, it can't (touch wood) get spammed by people wanting to sell...well, not road maps, anyway. Let me know if you'd like a real blog!
My plans for 2013 are to continue working closely with the Road Map Collectors Association on their Petroleum Map Catalog for maps from North America on which I am an assistant webmaster; inevitably this means that the PetrolMaps site may continue to suffer from slightly intermittent updates. Also, as it approaches 2,500 maps on display, additional ones turn up less frequently than they did a decade ago. Having said that, I am still thinking about adding pages on Antipodean maps, drawing on a series of articles that I am writing for the quarterly magazine of the Automobilia Collectors Club of Australia (ACCA), and am looking South towards Africa as well. Due to lower numbers of maps, any African pages would probably group countries, rather than taking a brand-led approach, but there's a big uncertainty about the prevalance of maps from the last 30 years or so - have the new entrants to the main markets (which have often displaced Shell, BP, Mobil, Caltex/Texaco or Total) issued maps at all? If you can help me by providing scans (or actual maps!) from names such as Kenol, OandO, Oryx and Puma, as well as Engen outside of its home base of South Africa, then please send me an e-mail. And I may yet change hosts, which will mean fully moving to the petrolmaps URL.

Now on line:

Now 12 maps on the 'Guess the map' quiz
Just a few months ago I added an extra map to the one showing extracts of Bournemouth in Dorset, giving you the chance to guess the cartographer and oil company issuer. I have recently acquired a map of which I previously only had a poor scan, so have upgraded that image (so as not to spoil the quiz, I won't say which one it is). But while I had the map on my scanner, I thought I would capture its quite different cartography of the area, and add it to the quiz. (Updated 30 December 2013)

Shell Itineraries across the Sahara
In the 1950s the four Shell companies operating in North and West Africa collectively produce a book of Shell Itineraries crossing the Sahara from Oran or Algiers in the North to Bangassou on the frontier with the Belgian Congo. This contained 25 pages of black & white strip maps. (Updated 27 December 2013)

Italy's Autostrade from Esso
Continuing the theme of strip maps, Esso's Italian subsidiary created a sheet map of the autostrade (motorways) in 1986; this is the youngest known Esso map of the country. (Updated 27 December 2013)

A Valvoline atlas of Switzerland
Until now, Valvoline maps have only been known from the USA and France, but a comb-bound atlas of Switzerland has recently been reported. (Updated 27 December 2013)

Updates to Texaco
I have given the Texaco page a bit of a makeover, by adding a 1999 road atlas from Britain, a 1983 German Texaco map of France, and the advertising panel from a mid-1930s map of Belgium. In addition, I have included the 2009 Ireland map, although that was already shown on the Ireland page and improved the layout somewhat. (Updated 22 December 2013)

How often did companies issue maps?
This sounds like it should be an easy question to answer, as most maps have a copyright date. But it turns out to be a little more complex than it might seem at first. Some maps (though not generally from Europe) clearly show a speciifc season on them, as in two 1973 maps from Standard (Indiana). Others carry a date code that includes the month, revealing that there were as many as three versions produced in an 18 month peiod for a particular Texaco map of Wales and Central England, again in 1973-4. On the other hand, some issues were used for several years, as appears to have occurred with an undated Shell-BP map of Northern England, believed to have been printed in 1954 but given away to delegates at a conference in September 1959. And finally this page looks at the case of the 1905 Pratt's atlas of England and Wales, of which four distinct versions are known, making it highly unlikley that they were all actually printed in 1905. (Updated 21 December 2013)

This has taken the number of map related images on this site above 2,500!

Another Danish Gulf map
Gulf was a relatively strong player across much of Scandinavia and periodically issued maps, although they are not frequently seen by collectors. A 1969 map of Denmark has now been added to those known to exist. (Updated 24 November 2013)

Possibly the final Shell map of Ireland?
Shell sold its Irish service station network to newcomer Topaz in 2005 (although the Shell name continued in use until 2008). It's not known exactly when the final Shell map of the country was produced, but a 2000 edition by Bartholomew is a credible contender. (Updated 24 November 2013)

Update to my Swap List
I was lucky enough to be able to attend the annual meeting of the Road Map Collectors Association in Indianapolis in late September. As well as a lot of chatting about maps, we also did a fair degree of swapping duplicate maps, and I left a number for next year's "dollar box" of surplus maps to raise funds for the club. As a result the number of maps on my swap list has fallen a little. However, I also upgraded a few titles, and have found a few more maps recently that are listed for the first time on my updated list.
1957 BP map of Switzerland 1957 Esso map of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi 1977 Esso map of Wales and Southwest England 1968 Midland Cooperatives map of North and South Dakota 1976 Skelly map of Iowa 1984 Total strip map booklet of French autoroutes
Six of the recently added maps are shown above. From left to right they are a 1957 BP map of Switzerland, a 1957 Esso map of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi (with 1956 copyright), a 1977 Esso map of Wales and Southwest England, a 1968 Midland Cooperatives map of North and South Dakota, a 1976 Skelly map of Iowa and a 1984 Total strip map booklet of French autoroutes. All are scans of the actual duplicate maps, showing visible flaws, and have not been retouched. Please note that these maps are not for sale; I like to trade maps on a one for one basis taking into account age, condition and rarity. (Updated 9 November 2013)

Norway by car
The Norway Travel Association produced maps for free distribution, with the English language title being "Norway by Car". In the late 1950s these were weakly sponsored by BP, but subsequently Esso became the sole sponsor, and two examples (plus a rear cover) have been added: a 1963 English version and a 1966 Finnish one. (Updated 20 October 2013)

Updates to Spanish maps
The page of Spanish maps was due for a slight refresh, so I have taken to opportunity to add three new images at the same time - a 1965 Caltex, a 1996 Shell/General Karte of the Costa Brava, and a ca2001 Belgian issue jointly sponsored by Q8 and Het Laatste Nieuws. (Updated 13 October 2013)

The most recent Homberg map
Homberg supplied a small chain of around 40 service stations from its base in Wuppertal in the Ruhr. Despite its size, four maps are known from the company, and what is possibly the most recent, dating from 1960 (+/- one year) has been added. (Updated 10 October 2013)

A second Intermarché/Bison Futé map
The Bison Futé scheme runs each summer as a way of encouraging motorists driving to or from the South of France to use secondary routes (itinéraires bis) and to avoid traffic black spots. From 1976 to 2003 a paper road map was published showing recommended routes; these had a variety of sponsors. For 1997/8 and 1999/2000 the main sponsor was the supermarket (and petrol station) chain of Intermarché, and the earlier map has now been added to the site. (Updated 3 September 2013)

Quiz 3 gains a map
Despite the age of parts of this website, I was very keen in the early years to include what were then quite sophisticated interactive elements, mainly written in quite simple JavaScript. One of these is a quiz, where you are presented with part of a map, in each case of Bournemouth in Dorset. Clicking on an adjacent panel reveals the oil company behind the map, along with its age and cartographer. It's 9 years since I added a map to this quiz, but a recent find with a quite different cartographic representation of Bournemouth has encouraged me to add another one, the 11th in the quiz. (Updated 2 September 2013)

A more recent Áfor map
Áfor was the state monopoly supplier in Hungary and like most of its Comecon equivalents occasionally issued a map of the country marking the location of its service stations. A 1987 example has now been added that includes joint venture stations operated by Áfor-Agip and Áfor-BP (but not Shell). (Updated 22 August 2013)

More help on dating Aral maps
The dating page includes some advice on dating Aral maps. This has been slightly extended on the main Aral page, with three additional maps of West Germany shown. (Updated 18 August 2013)

A proper road map from the Super U supermarket chain
Super U and its affiliates form part of the Système U association and it was thought that they had never issued a proper road map of France, although a town plan sponsored by them was known. However a quite recent (2004) map of France produced for them by Recta-Foldex has now been discovered. (Updated 25 July 2013)

Older and newer Cepsa atlases
The Spanish company Cepsa has branded guides and atlases since around the mid-1990s, and switched from a more expensive spiral format to a cheaper large format paperback atlas in 2004. I have extended the range of issues shown to include a 1997 guide and the 2013 atlas. (Updated 21 July 2013)

Esso maps from the 1980s and 1990s
It's been 10 years since I made a significant update to the page showing Esso maps since 1975. Essentially that's because there have hardly been any new Esso maps in the last decade (although I did show a 2008 Essocard atlas on the British page). To make amends, I have added a couple of earlier ones not shown before - a 1983/4 from Austria and a 1993 from Ireland; both used card covers over a stock commercial map inside. (Updated 14 July 2013)

Interpetrol in Croatia
With Croatia just 3 days away from becoming the EU's 28th member, I thought it would be good to add the only known map from Interpetrol, a Croatian company that was merged with CroatiaPetrol to form INA - still Croatia's largest oil company - in 1964. The Interpetrol (IPL) map happens to be exactly 50 years old.
Lukoil in Serbia
While in the former Yugoslavia, but bringing us right up to date, a friend found a map from the Russian company Lukoil in one of their Belgrade service stations just a couple of months ago. (Updated 27 June 2013)

Fina's 1958 Motoring Atlas of Great Britain
Petrofina (UK) sold a number of road atlases of Britain during the 1950s. It appears that the final one was the only one with cartography by George Philip & Son, and was published in late 1958. (Updated 24 June 2013)

An older map from Petrol Ljubljana
Petrol Ljubljana was incorporated in 1953, but the earliest map from the company shown hitherto was from 1969. A 1960 map of Yugoslavia has now been added to the site. (Updated 23 June 2013)

I have recently been to Finland, and while I didn't manage to come back with any nice old maps, it did give me an excuse to revisit the pages, updating the pre-war history, and add a few more relatively recent items. The summary page now includes a recent ABC locator booklet and the St1 diesel locator booklet cover (as well as a Gulf map that has been shown on the Gulf page for several years). The other, general, cover for the St1 booklet is shown on the Finnish national brands page, as well as a 2011 SEO map and a 2008 Z-map (credit card sized) of Greater Helsinki produced for ABC. Only the recent corporate history has been updated on the Neste page. (Updated 22 June 2013)

This gap was due to a period working on updating the Road Map Collectors Association website.

Pre-war advertising maps of Belgium
The Belgian publisher Polstobb sold maps of Belgium for 5 Fr that were also supported by a number of large adverts. In 1928 the main petrol company advertiser was Texaco; in 1936 it was Shell. (Updated 17 April 2013)

A 1978 Amoco road atlas of Great Britain
Some of the images on the Amoco page were slightly wrongly scaled, having been sent to me in the early days of this website (2001). I have therefore corrected them, and added a 1978 generic Bartholomew's atlas with a gold Amoco overprint from 1978. (Updated 13 April 2013)

Mobilgas advertising on a post-war KNA map of Norway
Sectional maps from the Royal Automobile Club of Norway frequently carried Mobil adverts on their rear cover from the 1930s to the 1950s. These maps are not uncommon in the UK as they were distributed through booksellers by Geographia. Initially Mobil did not sell fuels in the country, so used quite graphic adverts for Mobiloil. In 1953/4, though, they used a transitional design still mainly promoting oil, but including a logo for Mobilgas Nor & Vacuum, to reflect their entry in the motor spirit market through the purchase of Nor Bensin. (Updated 5 April 2013)

In 1964 the Croatian national oil company, INA (Industrija Nafte) was formed from the merger of Interpetrol and CroatiaPetrol. A map from CroatiaPetrol dating from shortly before the merger has now been discovered. (Updated 2 April 2013)

A Shell location map that may have come from a booklet
1994 Barbados in a Nutshell guide with free Esso map pasted into rearMost maps shown on this website are standalone items, either sold or - more rarely - given away to customers at service stations. However a few were once part of other documents, such as brochures or booklets of tourist information. One such map, which locates Shell service stations in Norway, has recently turned up, but over the 60 years or so since it was first printed has become detached from the associated booklet. I know that there would have been one, as there are page references on the map, but have no idea if it was a Shell booklet, or a tourist office one for which Shell had sponsored the map, in the same way that Esso sponsored the 1994 Barbados in a Nutshell guide by including a free Esso map pasted into the rear cover (see right). (Updated 30 March 2013)

Leclerc advertising on a street map of Cogolin, Provence
As the number of road maps printed specially for oil companies or service stations has fallen, some firms have occasionally advertised on local maps. As an example of this, I have added a 2006 town plan of Cogolin in Provence that was given away by the local Tourist Office and has a rear cover advertising Leclerc, which operates the town's only large supermarket with an associated petrol station. (Updated 16 March 2013)
As a further update, an advert from a Bravó supermarket taken from a map of L'Aiguillon sur Mer was added to the same page. (12 May 2013)

An Agip booklet map of Italy
A small format Agip booklet map of Italy has been added to the website. (Updated 5 March 2013)

Further updates to the Portuguese overview page
I have done some more shuffling on the Portugal page, including adding a slightly later Sacor map, and swapping the ACP map with a Galp advert for one that isn't shown anywhere else on the website. (Updated 3 March 2013)

Top of PageTürkpetrol & TPAO
The Turkish market has traditionally been split between international brands (until recently just Shell, BP & Mobil) and national brands. While maps from the former are quite commonly seen, as, in particular, Shell and BP made them widely available through their main European Touring Services, maps from the latter are only seen rarely, as few Western European tourists made the long journey by car to the country. So it taken until now to discover that the smaller of the two main national brands, Türkpetrol, did actually produce maps of its own, and that the state-owned TPAO (Türkiye Petrolleri A.O.) also produced a map, even though it is not thought to have been actively involved in petrol distribution. (Updated 2 March 2013)

Shell in Libya
Continuing the recent North African theme, Shell is also now known to have issued road maps of Libya from the late 1950s. Two examples have been added to the site: a map of the whole country and a "provisional" map of Tripoli. (Updated 21 February 2013)

Minera's later pre-war map
Most pre-war members of UNITI, the trade association for independent fuel distribution companies, issued two maps in the 1930s - first a brown covered atlas then a simpler sheet map at the end of the decade. Until recently only the former was known from Minera, but the later style of map has also now been rediscovered. (Updated 17 February 2013)

A 1956 Shell map booklet of Italy
In 1956 Shell issued a small format map booklet with cartography by Officine Fotolitografiche of Milan, the only known petrol map to have been produced by this particular firm. Before the war, it had been more common for oil companies to advertise on maps from the two main motoring associations, and a 1939 Agip advert from the rear of an RACI map has been added to the adverts page. (Updated 16 February 2013)

Urban exit maps from Mobilgas France
Shell are not the only firm to have produced basic maps in France. In the 1950s Mobilgas produced some very rudimentary maps of exit routes from urban areas (Cartes des Sorties). I have added the 1954 and 1956 styles, as well as an extract of Bordeaux from 1954. I have also added a regular 1958 Mobil issue of France Sud. (Updated 15 February 2013)

Les Stations Shell en France
This is the title of a fairly basic locator map marking all Shell stations by department, published for them by GT Gabelli in March 1991. (Updated 28 January 2013)

Even more Algeria!
It seemed wrong not to include Shell's earliest - and finest - mapping of Algeria, in a production put together by EPOC but offered free of charge by Shell to its customers. So I managed to source a January 1930 map of the Department of Constantine with great cartography by the Service Géographique de l'Armée. (Updated 25 January 2013)

In-Amenas from 1961 Shell map of the Sahara The recent hostage taking and subsequent deaths at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria are a salutary reminder that many fossil fuels are extracted from locations that are inhospitable and occasionally dangerous. And our sympathies for those affected should not overlook the fact that sometimes the victims are the previous residents of an area where companies drill. In Algeria's case its fossil fuels are not recently discovered and for many years it has suffered from a repressive regime paying little attention to human rights, safe in the knowledge that Europe needs its gas. Indeed even at In Amenas gas been produced for over 50 years, as can be seen from its appearance on a 1961 Shell map of the Sahara (right).
Of course Algeria was not always dependent on energy; in the 1930s — while still made up of 3 Départements of France — it was marketed as a sunny tourist destination. This led to Shell, in particular, producing a number of guides including a small booklet containing 17 itineraries for tourists, probably dating from the mid-1930s, which has now been added to this website. (Updated 20 January 2013)

Road atlases from George Philip & Sons
George Philip & Sons worked with the Shellmex & BP group in the early 1960s to repackage their successful sheet maps into a single volume covering Great Britain, but not Ireland, at the scale of 5 miles to the inch, with additional maps of London. Updated versions of this atlas were published as late as 1989. This new page charts the changes to the cartography over that period, with 21 map extracts - mainly of Bristol or London, as well as showing cover designs from 4 atlases not previously included on this website (including one from the clothing retailer C&A). A table identifies the content of representative atlases carrying the Shell, BP or National logos: National atlases often contained additional town plans not found in the versions for the sister brands. (Updated 14 January 2013)

A 1966 Total map of Great Britain
When Total first entered the UK petrol market in the early 1960s, it made little economic sense to produce a full map series to rival the big brands such as Shell, Esso or BP. Instead it commissioned a simple map of Great Britain from George Philip & Son at the scale of 10 miles to the inch; smaller than most petrol maps in Britain, but comparable with much of what was available on the continent. Until now I thought they only produced one edition, in 1964, but a 1966 version has now turned up, with a less bold cover design. (Updated 7 January 2013)

A pre-war Regent atlas
Regent was a small London-based distributor of petrol acquired by Trinidad Leaseholds in 1930, to allow it to distribute its West Indian oil. Until now, no maps were known to have been produced prior to its post-war merger with Texaco, but a hardback book of Regent Super Road Maps dating from around 1935 has been discovered. (Updated 6 January 2013)

More Aral atlases
The German company Aral has for many years sold a range of atlases, often hardback, produced by its long term cartographic partner, Busche. As they are rarely available outside German speaking countries, this website has only included a relatively small number of them. To redress this, I have now added a further seven atlases, representative of their publication dates which vary from 1976 to 1994, including the famous Schlummer and Schlemmer atlases listing hotels and restaurants. More recent atlases can be found, but are more expensive to buy and even heavier to ship back to the UK! (Updated 2 January 2013)

A 1979 Avia map of the Netherlands
Avia is a co-operative brand used by independent suppliers in several European countries. This means that its service stations tend to be found in small clusters rather than evenly spread across its markets and with a tendency to supply smaller sites its maps are generally uncommon. A second Dutch map has now been found, but it is likely that there are many more Avia maps of the country waiting to be described on this website. (Updated 1 January 2013)

Top of Page

Latest Updates

Updates from 2012

Updates from 2011

Updates from 2010

Updates from 2009

Updates from 2008

Updates from 2007

Updates from 2006

Updates from 2005

Updates from 2004

Updates from 2003

Updates from 2002

Updates from 2001

Updates from 2000

Updates from 1999

Text, "new" icon and layout © Ian Byrne, 2004, 2013-4

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.