Today I filled my car up with gasoline. Ten and a half gallons. $43.00. As I was standing there pumping my gas, I started thinking back to the ‘good old days’, when someone else did this for you.

In 1956 my boyfriend worked at a Shell gas station. Gas was 29 cents a gallon and his job was to put it in your car. His car took ten gallons to fill, but he only made $1.25 an hour and so seldom had $3 all at once for a full tank. Usually he got three gallons at a time.

He drove a Morris Minor and it was so small, it probably got a lot of miles to the gallon. I know we could drive to Palm Springs, which was 125 miles from Los Angleles, on $3 of gas.

The last time I remember a service station actually giving service, was in 1984. I was living in Palm Springs and driving a Cadillac. A twenty gallon fill up was under $20.

I always went to the same Chevron station. The owner knew me, spoke English and would smile and say something pleasant before he started putting the gas in my car. Then he checked the air in my tires, water/oil etc.

I just signed a chit and at the end of the month, got my bill from Chevron. Voila.

Then some of the stations offered a choice of self service for a few cents less a gallon. I swore I would never do that. Little did I know. Pretty soon there wasn’t a choice any more.

In those days the popular item was special gloves to wear while pumping your own gas, so your hands wouldn’t smell like gasoline.

My girlfriend even knew how to use the long handled squeegee thing on the windows of her Mercedes Benz.

In 2004 I moved to Mexico. Rosarito Beach, about forty miles south of the border  below San Diego. I was in heaven. Here the gas stations had real people attendants. They wore uniforms and did a great job. I got spoiled.

Then I moved back to Hawaii. Not only is there no service, it is very difficult to even find a gas station. If there is one, it is one of four on four corners of the same intersection.

There is only one place in Honolulu that gives you a choice of pump it yourself or have someone help you. That is Lex Brodie’s on Queen Street. Their prices are reasonable and if you pump it yourself, just about the lowest in town (other than Costco).

For strictly having someone pump your gas for you, go to McKinley car wash on Kapiolani. They charge a little more per gallon than anywhere else, but there is always a line to get in. They do safety checks and minor stuff like new windshield wiper blades.  They also give the best car wash in town.

If you purchase eight gallons, you get a slight discount on the car wash. But they do a great job, and every twelve car washes you get one free. They keep track, so every once in a while you get a nice surprise.

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