Muscle Car

Gasoline The Cool Way

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By Mark Weisseg

I would bet the majority of us wheel into the gas stations and just add fuel without much thought. Years ago I was a gas jockey and eagerly awaited the truck no matter what the weather so he would fill up our tanks. We had leaded and unleaded at the time along with Premium. So, every night one of the tasks before we went home was to “dip the tanks.”

Dipping the tanks meant sticking in a very long ruler into each tank and measuring in inches how much fuel was still in there.
Not bad in good weather but in the cold, rain or snow the parking lot was the last place you wanted to be every night in the dark. Then, you read every pump. They had little numbers inside the glass that you wrote down and subtracted that long number on a calculator from the previous nights numbers. Try that on a foggy glass pump on say ten pumps. Again, in the rain or other bad weather while you were writing it down on paper that is soaked. It was awful but we had to do it.

We were always happy to see the fuel truck because at times it was someone to talk to on a lonely snowy night. But, the trucks were not like this one in the picture. This truck is before my time.
This truck does not hold much fuel versus the large trucks I saw roll in or even the ones today. So, enough about me whining because today everything is computerized and the task is much easier. That is progress I guess.
Before my time it was old model A tucks that carried little fuel, then these rigs, and eventually what we see today. Some gas stations sell so much gas they are serviced more than once or twice a day. That is a lot of fuel.

But, I admit I kind of miss the old days except for the outdoor activities. Even today I am impressed with where the fuel comes from, how we receive it and deliver it. More than that, how much is used everyday. It’s a stunning number. Years ago I got to see this in Pittsburgh. Pre 9/11 of course. Jet fuel, diesel fuel, gasoline and so on. Yes, my eyes were spinning like tops and I wish I could go back but no way anymore. The gate is guarded and if you try to get in only bad news follows you.

You know what I really, really miss? The interaction of the customers. Some were kooks, losers, drunks and so on but many were nice people who you wanted to know better even if you were washing the windshield, checking the oil and taking there money. I remember that was the day if you paid cash you got a discount of five cents per gallon too. We wore uniforms and we were told to smile and be pleasant. If you had a bad day leave it inside the building as the customer had other choices to buy their gasoline. We were not the cheapest gas in town but we felt we gave the best, honest service. I long for some of those days when life was very simple and $2.10 per hour was good money.

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