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Passing less gas. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
captainsblog
captainsblog
Passing less gas.
My new(er) car, a hybrid, is somewhat improved over the previous Focus; I seem to be able to go at least 400 miles fairly easily on a tank that rarely seems to need much more than eight gallons (compared to 300 miles and more like ten-gallon fillups with the last one). But with the two Palmyra trips this week, it was time to find a fillup again today, and unfortunately, it still is....

Another nearby gas station has just bitten the dust. It's one of a couple I remember from first moving here that had been "Petro USA" exports of the still-vibrant Petro Canada brand. It was a Getty station for awhile before sitting dormant for close to a year, when a Batavia-based operator spruced it up and, as of today, has again abandoned it.

It's not alone. A Valero station close to home has been vacant, with FOR SALE signs on it, for at least two years. Its pumps still sit there, the nozzles bagged, and a nearby car dealer uses it as a lot for surplus inventory.

These examples are of mere failures; others are being developed out of existence. Our mechanic shared a storefront with a Sunoco dealer (one of only two national brands, Mobil the other, left in our region). But a few months ago, after the gas station closed its pumps, Erin and Bill moved, as well. They lost their lease to a developer who's knocking down the corner for, what else?, yet another Tim Horton's. I was surprised when Erin told me that, since there's a Timmy's barely a mile down the corner road from his place. He rolled his eyes; "there are thirteen within a three-mile radius." Others near us have been demolished for a bank branch and a COMING SOON office park. There's even a former gas station in the nearby village that's a lawyer's office.

Some of this is likely due to lost population in this area- my travels earlier this month reminded me of close to a dozen petrol brands which once dotted the upstate landscape but left here 30 or more years ago- but you'd think the few remaining ones would have enough demand to sustain them. Is it the move to hybrids and, even, full-electrics like Iggy that are driving these dealers out of the market? I'm seeing way more Priuses (Prii?) and other hybrids around here, and while there are only a few electric Smart cars on the road still, their gassy cousins with close to 50 mpg are becoming more and more common. We also saw our first Tesla while driving back from Guardians earlier this month; that's one nice-looking car there, even though it probably requires a mortgage to afford.

The stations that survive seem to do it either by going old-school, with car repairs still part of their business, or by franchising out their real estate into car washes, fuller-range convenience items, and even name brand food chains. Dunkies and Timmy's have tie-ins with two of the local gas retailers, and some of them have more restaurant choices than a Thruway rest stop.

This latest to close does leave one odd legacy. For months after it closed the last time, some wag changed all the white-on-black pricing signs above the pumps to over $5.00 a gallon (mid-threes has been more typical around here in recent years). Today, those same signs were rolled down to $2.48. (And nine-tenths, of course.) We'll see how long that lasts when and if they reopen; or maybe that'll be the hourly charge for a charge at a replacement electric station.
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Comments
ecosopher From: ecosopher Date: August 23rd, 2014 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I call them Prii too :D

I wonder if it's also that people are using less gas in conventional vehicles? We've done that in recent years, as fuel has got more expensive.
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: August 23rd, 2014 11:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's some of that at play, I'm sure, but the US also has a distinct psychological Thing going into it. There's something about the wholly arbitrary $4.00 a US-gallon price point that drives people crazy, into actual behavior like not driving as much. It first hit here post-Katrina, and has crept above that a handful of times since during particularly nasty Mideast tensions.

It's also utterly meaningless in a world that, largely, dispenses petrol in liters (six miles west of here in Canada) or larger imperial gallon (as the UK still did last time we were there). But it gets press and publicity and large numbers of people pay attention.
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