I pass by a derelict gas station every day on my commute to work. It’s owners closed up shop back in late 2004/early 2005 when the state converted the local highway into a freeway, removing the three intersections and replacing them with one exit/entry ramp. This particular gas station found itself about a half-mile away from the ramp and ended up being the station farthest away from there, so the owners decided to pack it in.
The station is still there, with some shop fixtures and junk littering the old food mart area and a blue tarp covering up the station sign, which still has the gas prices from their last day of operation up and visible through the plastic. Regular unleaded was selling for $1.97 per gallon that day. At the time the station closed I was complaining about the high cost of gas. In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, I remember driving past that sign and wistfully thinking about how cheap $1.97 seemed when the other stations in the area were selling the same stuff for about $3.45. Since the end of the 2005 hurricane season, gas prices have dropped back under $3/gallon and most of us, being the well-trained consumers we are, were glad that we were ‘only’ paying $2.50 or so for gas, which seemed like a bargain in comparison. I’d still drive by that closed station most days, and ever so often I’d see that old price barely visible under that tarp, smile to myself, and think about what once was and how it would never be again. Read the rest of this entry »