At times I would laugh (to keep from crying) when I thought of how low gas prices once were. Low gas prices meant a whole different gas station experience. One that most young people would not recognize today. As a child, I can remember going inside the gas station for a soda, a candy bar, or maybe a small container of ice cream. I can remember my dad or my granddad having conversations with other drivers while they each filled up their gas tanks during the stop. They might even share a joke. But for far too long, there has been no laughing at the pump.
The whole gas station experience changed over ten years ago when gas prices shot through the roof. I was a sophomore in college when the gas prices first took off. Some people might have saw it coming. I wasn’t one of them. During college, I pretty much stopped putting a full tank of gas in my car altogether. That was too expensive. No matter where I was heading, I would put just enough gas in the tank to get me there and back. With gas prices at an all-time high, it was more important than ever to know just where you were going, because getting lost was a terrible waste of gas. And forget about trying to talk to me at the pump. I was too busy being annoyed with the gas price. Besides, when you’re paying three, four, or five dollars per gallon, there’s no time to have a conversation with another driver while you’re pumping gas. You have to keep your eyes on those numbers, or risk pumping more gas than your budget allowed.
In fact, I would prepay for my gas just to avoid that problem. There’s nothing like explaining to your date how we can’t go to the movies now because I accidently pumped too much gas. And what of convenience store snacks? Over time, I forgot what those were. For a long time, I didn’t walk inside a convenience store unless I was going to prepay for gas. Other than gas, I couldn’t tell you what gas stations sold. I could barely afford the gas, so I didn’t care about anything else they offered. This Labor Day weekend, gas prices fell to their lowest average price in over 11 years. A few places in and around the Charlotte Metro Area had gas prices below $2.00 per gallon. In some stations, the prices were well below that. I am happy to report that while filling up my gas tank this weekend, I stepped inside a gas station and purchased a Snickers Bar and a 20 ounce Coca-Cola. I also spoke to a driver who was going out of state for the Labor Day weekend.