History2021-03-02T18:41:22+00:00

Our History

Since 1921

Foster Fuels is a third-generation Foster family-owned-and-operated business headquartered in Campbell County, Virginia, and serving customers in all regions of the United States and internationally. Foster Fuels began serving Central and Southside Virginia when L.H. Foster arranged with Texaco to become the area’s first Texaco jobber. He worked diligently to fulfill the petroleum needs of the community. His two sons, L.H. Foster Jr. and Watt Robert “Bobby” Foster continued his work and expanded the family-run business by acquiring other jobbers. In 1960, they started a propane gas distributorship which became one of the largest and most successful in Virginia. Through innovation and a drive to exceed its customers exceptions, Foster Fuels has continued to be an industry-leader and set the bar in customer service.

July 1919

Lou Hilton “LH” Foster Sr. & LW Roark Sr. start Brookneal Oil Company

Lou Hilton “LH” Foster Sr. & LW Roark Sr. start Brookneal Oil Company, delivering flour, ice, and five-gallon cans of lamp oil to the Brookneal area by ox-drawn cart. LH Foster Sr. was a WWI veteran.

January 1921

LH & LW split Brookneal Oil Co.

LH and LW split the company. LH assumes the oil business and—with his wife, Queenie “Inez” Foster—they continue to grow the business. LH & Inez have a son, LH Jr. Brookneal Oil becomes a consignee with Texaco (first Texaco consignee in the area). One of the original trucks bought for the company is located in front of the Brookneal office today.

July 1936

LH Sr. and Inez have another son, Watt “Bobby” Foster Sr.

LH Sr. and Inez have another son, Watt “Bobby” Foster Sr. Both boys eventually join operations.

April 1942

LH Jr. enlists for WWII

While attending Virginia Tech in 1942, L.H. Foster, Jr. enlisted for WWII through the university's ROTC program. During his service he lost half of one of his legs but ultimately returned home to Virginia where he joined his father and started working for the company.

September 1945

Name changes to L.H. Foster & Sons

Bobby and Nancy have a son, Watt Jr., and the family business name changes to L.H. Foster & Sons. The business is incorporated on September 12th. LH Sr. passes away, and LH Jr. and Watt Sr. run the company together.

June 1956

LH Jr. takes over business operations

Gasoline sells for $0.15/gallon.  LH Jr. eventually takes over operations. His younger brother Bobby is involved with the family business also. LH Foster & Son continues to grow while Bobby attends the University of Richmond.

September 1960

Company name changes from LH Foster & Sons, Inc. to Foster Fuels, Inc.

OPEC forms on September 14.  Company name changes from LH Foster & Sons, Inc. to Foster Fuels, Inc. Bobby buys a transport truck to pick up fuels in Richmond. The first delivery is made to James Bailey’s Cleaners on Main Street in Brookneal (now closed). Other local companies are bought to become part of Foster Fuels.

October 1966

Foster Fuels adds Propane to Services

Bobby adds propane to Foster Fuels’ services. Deliveries now include kerosene, fuel oil, gasoline, and motor oil.

June 1982

Watt Foster Jr. joins Foster Fuels

Watt R. Foster Jr. graduates from James Madison University and joins the Foster Fuels team.

November 1984

LH Jr. Passes Away

LH Jr. dies on November 11th (Veterans Day).

January 1989

Watt Foster Jr. now owns Foster Fuels

Bobby (Watt Sr.) sells Foster Fuels to Watt Jr., his son. Bobby and Watt Jr. continue to run the company together like the sale never happened. Bobby remains President and participates in all important decisions. Watt Jr. does everything from driving a truck to service and work sales.

May 1990

Texaco fuels are dropped from Foster Fuels inventory.

Propane is listed as an approved, alternative clean fuel in the 1990 Clean Air Act and—two years later, it is listed again as an alternative fuel in the Energy Policy Act of 1992; Persian Gulf War begins. Texaco fuels are dropped from inventory.

September 2003

Foster Fuels establishes a disaster relief division

Watt Jr. and Watt Sr. establish a disaster relief division in response to Hurricane Isabel’s arrival in Virginia.

September 2004

Foster Fuels responds to Hurricane Ivan

Hurricane Ivan slams Florida—Foster Fuels responds successfully for private companies.

January 2006

Changes to propane gas division

Watt Jr. and Watt Sr. revitalize the propane gas division.

May 2007

New Company Headquarters Constructed

Watt Jr. and Watt Sr. expand the company with a new headquarters and facility to hold the growth. Foster Fuels purchases a local propane company to expand its propane division. Foster Fuels also expands propane into Danville, VA via another acquisition.

January 2010

Foster Fuels responds to the Haiti Earthquake

Foster Fuels responds to the Haiti Earthquake in January. Watt Jr. is deployed there with his men to oversee operations. Watt Jr. is away for two months while Watt Sr. continues to oversee operations in spite of his failing health.

September 2012

Mission Critical division successfully performs the largest federal disaster relief mission in history

The Mission Critical division successfully performs the largest federal disaster relief mission in history in response to Superstorm Sandy in the Northeast.

September 2013

Showroom in Lovingston, VA Opens

Foster Fuels' Propane Division opens a new Hearth & Home location in Lovingston, Virginia.

April 2014

Watt Robert “Bobby” Foster, Sr. passes away.

Watt Robert “Bobby” Foster, Sr. passes away.

May 2015

Foster Fuels opens store in Charlottesville, VA.

Foster Fuels establishes a physical presence in Charlottesville, VA.

September 2016

Foster Fuels Mission Critical responds to Hurricane Matthew

Foster Fuels Mission Critical responds to Hurricane Matthew after being activated by FEMA.

August 2017

Foster Fuels Responds to Multiple Severe Hurricanes

The Mission Critical division responds to three consecutive hurricanes; Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The response to Maria included sending 135 team members to Puerto Rico.

September 2018

The Mission Critical Supports Hurricane Relief Efforts

The Mission Critical division is activated for Hurricanes Florence and Michael by FEMA and private clients.

August 2019

Hurricane Dorian Hits & the Mission Critical Division is Activated

Hurricane Dorian hits and the Mission Critical division is activated by FEMA.

August 2020

The Propane Division Opens a New HQ

Foster Fuels opens a Propane Headquarters in Rustburg, Virginia.

Foster Fuels Responds to Hurricane Laura in Louisiana & Texas

Hurricane Laura hits the US coast causing destruction across the Louisiana and Texas borders. Foster Fuels' Mission Critical Division responds to the relief efforts mitigating the risk and overcoming the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

February 2021

Responding to the 2021 Winter Storms

The country experienced historic lows and ice, leaving millions without power. Virginian residents were hit hard, and Fosters worked overtime to fuel backup generators and warm homes while Foster Mission Critical responded to relief efforts in Texas and Northern Virginian.