Tuesday Open Line

On this date in 1913, what is today the Gulf Oil Company opened the nation’s first drive-in gas station. Located at the intersection of Baum Boulevard and St. Clair Street in Pittsburgh, the filling station was a simple but pleasing structure, with a cantilevered pagoda-style roof to shelter the pumps, cars and station attendants. Before this innovation, gasoline was dispensed from sometimes awkwardly located pumps at such places as grocery and hardware stores, and even some pharmacies. Yet in the ensuing 102 years, some of this earlier practice has come full circle. Across the U.S. today, there are over 112,000 gas stations. The vast majority—some 97,000—are combined with convenience or food mart stores. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.