As I was driving to meet a friend at Gone Wired, I heard the dreaded ping and then saw the warning light that meant I was running low on gas. I hate pumping gas when the air is so cold that my nose freezes shut, so I had purposefully ignored opportunities to get gas the previous day.
Ever the optimist, I called my friend to tell her that I might be five minutes late, since I needed to stop for gas on the way.
Twenty minutes later, I was still touring downtown Lansing looking for a gas station.
The Speedway on the corner of Michigan and Clemons was closed while a crew was installing a new sign. As I headed to the Capitol, I was delighted to see the station a few blocks down, but oops, it was closed. Hmmm, so was the Mobil station a few blocks further down.
As I watched the gas gauge drop closer to Empty, I began to get nervous. I turned right on Larch, only to find the Sunoco station I remembered was boarded up.
In desperation, I headed to the Speedway on Saginaw near Frandor and made it just in time. (By the way, what’s the etiquette for pulling into a pump where people seem to enter from everywhere? I think there’s a woman who will never forgive me for wheeling into the pump ahead of her.)
Is it just me or are there fewer and fewer places to buy gas in Lansing?
Not long ago, my favorite neighborhood gas station, Randy Markham’s Mobil-then-Sunoco station on Okemos Road south of Jolly, not only closed but disappeared – within days after closing, a crew came in and tore it down. Back in mid-70s, when I moved to the area, I renamed the station “Randy’s Fine Dining,” since it was the only place I could get a Hostess DingDong or a bag of chips at 3 a.m. when the munchies hit.
Paved paradise, put in a parking lot.
I remember the Jimmy Carter era of the 70s when gas shortages meant long lines at the pump. What would happen today when there are so few places left open?
I learned long ago that rising gas prices typically mean windfall profits for the oil companewnies but not the local service station owner. So owning a gas station may not be a good gig anymore. This article from Florida about the state’s new (and much-needed) environmental regulation of underground tanks suggest that such burdens fall more heavily on the small business owner than the corporate chains. But is business really so bad that downtown areas are becoming gas station deserts in addition to being food deserts?
What’s the story? Are you finding it harder to find a place to get gas? Do you know why this is happening?
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