Gasoline Station Geography’s Found Middle Ground:
An “Unlikely” Career Story
Keywords:gasoline stations, Big Oil, oral historical geography
Historical appraisal of gasoline stations has previously been limited primarily to their growing association with Big Oil in the twentieth century. Research emphasis has included: branding, architecture, place–product packaging, and the attrition of small independent operators, a withering which reached a crescendo in the 1970s. The middle ground of multiple station independent ownership in regional or metropolitan settings remains largely unexplored. Based on oral sources, this paper traces the emergence and growth of a 134 - station ‘empire’ of discount retail gasoline stations in mostly, a single city. The Geiger-owned stations achieved recognition without branding, with canny location choices, and impressive price competition. However, their near-ascendancy in the 1970s could not survive a global oil crisis.