Most drivers fill up their cars at gas stations (petrol stations to Brits) without giving a second thought to what the building looks like.
And for good reason – most of them are extremely dull and functional. But not all of them, as a brand new photography book has revealed.
The wittily titled It’s A Gas! delves with aplomb into the heady world of gas stations, picking out some of the most fascinating and coolest examples around (yes, really) – past and present.
It includes a service station decorated with an actual WWII bomber, a service station in a lake (for boats, obviously) and an eerie, abandoned gas station in the Sonoran Desert.
The publisher, Gestalten, explains the allure: ‘The first gasoline was sold in pharmacies – but this was to change in the 1950s. As the car experienced its great rise in popularity, gas stations began to pop up like mushrooms. Futuristic and progressive, these modern temples of mobility became roadside reference points for young people hungry for independence, and to everyone who strove for a sense of freedom.
‘It’s a Gas! explores the surprisingly diverse world of the gas station – a functional high tech temple, a transit zone, a film set, a converted residence, or an abandoned ruin hidden in a backyard. The world of pumps is full of surprises, ready to be discovered in this book.’ Scroll down for some fuel for your wanderlust…
The bomber gas station in Milwaukee, Oregon, always caught the eye of passing motorists thanks to the actual B-17 bomber used in the Second World War perched on the top of the pumps. The plane was named Lacey Lady and the gas station ran its business from 1947 to 1991. After it closed it was converted into The Bomber Restaurant – and the bomber remained on the site. The aircraft was painstakingly dismantled in 2014 and taken to a hangar to be restored
The striking Repsol gas station in San Agustín de Guadalix, close to the Spanish capital, Madrid. It opened in 2006
An eerie-looking abandoned gas station in the Sonoran Desert in California, left to rot after custom dried up
Motorists pull up to have their tanks filled personally by staff at a gas station in the German city of Delmenhorst. The picture was taken in 1958
The Frank Seneca service station that stands out to drivers in West Allis, Wisconsin, thanks to its bright red and orange colours. And Japanese temple styling. It opened in 1927 and was owned by Wadhams Oil and Grease Company. It was restored to its former glory in 2000 and the building still stands on the road side
A giant 66ft drinks bottle stands outside the quirky Pops Gas Station just outside Oklahoma City on the iconic Route 66. As well as being a place to fill up with fuel, it’s also a place to fill up with soda – there’s a huge selection inside
This gas station in Legarda, Spain, not only sells traditional fuel but was one of the first in the country to offer bio-diesel and bio-ethanol. In keeping with the ‘green’ theme the wooden roof of the gas station is fitted with solar panels
A vintage Union 76 gas station in Tuscon, Arizona, that was taken in 1979. It’s A Gas! explores the surprisingly diverse world of the gas station
The book underscores that it’s not just cars and lorries that need to visit gas stations. In Vancouver, Canada, a Chevron station in the middle of a lake helps boats to fill up
The Roy’s complex, which included a gas station, motel and cafe on Route 66 in Amboy, California. It opened in the late 1930s but closed in 2003
Resembling a UFO, this bizarre-looking gas station materialised in the Slovakian town of Matuskovo, close to Bratislava. The book notes that even though it looks eye-catching, the design is simple and cost no more to build than a conventional gas station
The Redwood Tree service station in Ukiah, California, is actually attached to the stump of a 1,500-year-old tree. Now the building serves as a musuem
It’s A Gas! The Allure of a Gas Station is published by Gestalten and has a preface that has been written by US talk show host Jay Leno