The Motorious beta is now available to all users.  Learn more about what this means.

What Gas Stations Were Like In 1957

By Steven Symes Nov 08, 2019
news
Shop Classics
By Steven Symes Nov 08, 2019
This vintage documentary is fascinating.

Today we take getting fuel for our vehicles for granted. Gas stations are everywhere, so you don’t really get range anxiety like people did back in the day. But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, the documentary below from 1957 shows just what a foreign concept they were to a good portion of the US populace. We certainly have come a long way.

Despite Ford, Chevrolet, and other automakers getting cars to the masses, plenty of people in the 1950s were unsure of how to properly use gas stations. Sure, some were new drivers, but it was also a time when people who had just used mass transit were buying cars, thanks to the booming US economy.

Some of the things explained in this video just seem like common sense, indicating there were a lot of people who didn’t know the first thing about how gasoline got to the station, how gas pumps work, or even how to interact with the gas station attendant.

Also notable is the fact you had to specify to the attendant how much gas you wanted in your tank. Automatic shutoff valves weren’t on all pumps back then, so you had to know the car fuel tank capacity to get it close to completely full. Of course, gas was incredibly cheap back then, with a price of $0.34 a gallon listed on the pump in the video, so filling up wasn’t a financial burden.

Attendants back then checked the tire pressure plus water and oil levels each time you filled up. We’re spoiled today with cars which don’t need quite as close attention, but that’s made many people so lazy they literally never check the fluid levels. Of course, those of us who drive classic vehicles and high-performance models do watch all the levels like a hawk, so this concept isn’t foreign.

We might feel a little smug after watching this video because of how much more sophisticated and knowledgeable we are in modern times. However, it’s sobering to remember that just last year Oregon passed a law to allow citizens to pump their own gas. When that law was moving through the state legislature, some Oregonians were coming unglued, declaring there would be all kinds of public safety disasters if anyone other than a station attendant were to operate the pumps. And in New Jersey it’s still the law that a certified attendant must put gas in vehicles. Somehow, people in every other state seem to manage.


Related articles

Ferrari Safari: Hit The Trails In This One-Off 1975 Dino 308 GT4

If you thought the 911 Safari was wicked, then check out this rally-spec Ferrari! When it comes down to it, all Ferr...
By Jeffrey N. Ross Nov 22, 2019

Watch These Totaled Exotics Live On As Stylish Timepieces

Instead of heading to the crusher, this Australian company found a unique way to recycle wrecked exotics. It's a sad...
By Jeffrey N. Ross Nov 21, 2019

Drop The Top In This NCRS-Worthy 1957 Chevy Corvette

This vintage 'Vette is sure to be the star of any show. The fate of the first-generation Chevrolet Corvette was look...
By Amie Williams Nov 21, 2019

For Under $14K, Take Home This Two-Owner 1974 Ford F100

A low-mileage vintage pickup with a plethora of new parts. Motorcar Studio is excited to offer this attractive 1974 ...
By Amie Williams Nov 21, 2019
Show Me More

URL copied to clipboard