Throwback Thursday: Learning to use self-service gas pumps

 

A typical filling station, long before self-serve: University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, The Williamson Museum, Georgetown, Texas
University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, The Williamson Museum, Georgetown, Texas

Most people of a certain age remember a time before self-service gas stations — the Mayberry-esque scene in which you simply drive up, and a friendly attendant trots over to the car and asks, “regular or ethyl?”

Now, all we know is self-serve. But the transition between the two eras was clumsy and comical at filling stations around Preston Hollow, according this Dallas Mornings News archive story from Nov. 29, 1976.

The male gas station owners often placed the blame on women, who had trouble “just turning the thing on.” But plenty of frustrated drivers of both genders would forget to replace the caps on their tanks, leaking gas everywhere. People drove off with the hose still attached to their tanks. In general though, the owners simply watched the scenes with amusement because to assist would be “too much difference in price.”

Dallas Morning News archives
Dallas Morning News archives

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