“Revolutionizing Refueling: Gilmore Oil’s Gas-A-Teria Pioneers Self-Serve Stations in 1948 Los Angeles”_trunghinhsu

The Gilmore gas station was one of the first gas stations in Los Angeles. The first self-service Gilmore gas-a-teria was built in 1948. According to LIFE magazine, in October 1948, some 75 Southern California entrepreneurs listened to the profitable clicking of their gasoline pumps, congratulated themselves warmly. The self-service gas station, California’s newest contribution to the drive-in way of life, was a smashing success.

Barely a year old, the “gas-a-teria,” as it has come to be known, is booming because the public has enthusiastically accepted the savings in money (50 on a gallon of gasoline or quart of oil) and time (average self-service stop takes about 90 seconds) which gas-a-terias make possible.

Motorist drives into the station, usually four times the regular size, pumps his own gas, pours his own oil and checks his own tires. Young ladies, sometimes on roller skates, inspect the amounts registered on the pumps and make change: Occasionally they have problems but they are nothing compared to those of regular gas station owners, some of whose sales gas-a-terias have decreased by 35%.







































(Photos by Allan Grant/LIFe archive)