Not that long ago, service stations were places that not only sold gasoline, but that also repaired your car, sold tires and batteries and even supplied maps for your trips at no charge. The station owner’s name was over the office door, and though the big sign on the corner said Gulf or Sunoco, it was his business.
Today, with a few rare exceptions, we pump our own gas. If we interact with
someone at a gas station, it is to buy drinks, snacks, cigarettes, or lottery tickets. Many of those former service stations provide the same services, as before, theyjust don’t sell gas. They represent another aspect of the disappearing, unfranchised American landscape.