The Most and Least Expensive Gas Stations in America
Bellingham, Washington (December 2001):
During my recent trip around America, I visited 34 states and drove over 14,000 miles. I filled my
truck's tank about 35 times during my trip and kept a mental note of gas prices around the country, which I'll
pass along here.
During my 2001 trip, the average price of gas in America was about $1.60 a gallon. In general, gas was more
expensive in the west than in the east. The most expensive gas I found was in southern California where self-serve
regular unleaded gas cost around $2.00 per gallon. The cheapest gas I found was in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where I
saw one station selling it for $1.13 per gallon. Unfortunately though, I had just filled my tank at $1.21. Gas
was relatively cheap throughout the south, with prices averaging around $1.35 per gallon for regular unleaded.
Here are some photos:
Above left: This was the cheapest gas I bought during my 14,000-mile trip around America.
It was in Abingdon, Virginia. I saw gas for as little as $1.13 during my trip, in Louisiana.
Above right: The most expensive gas that I saw was in Baker, California in the middle of the Mojave
Desert. By the way, that's the "World's Tallest Thermometer" in the background, which reads a toasty 98 degrees.
Above left: At 30 cents a gallon, this was the cheapest gas I saw during my trip. Too bad this old pump, at
a museum in New Ulm, Minnesota, wasn't working anymore! As you can see, this was the price of Ethyl. Fred was even cheaper. (That's
a little "I Love Lucy" humor).
Above right: And here are the "old time" gas pumps at the museum in New Ulm. The type of pump on the left
was used in the 1920s and 1930s. The gas station attendant would hand-crank gas into the glass bowl on the top, then he'd put the hose in your tank
and would open the spigot to let it flow. He'd charge you based on how far the gas in the bowl dropped. The style of gas pump on the right was
used in the 1940s and 1950s. These were the first pressurized types of gas pumps, so no more hand-cranking!