Unique Gas Stations Take Center Stage

A new photography book with a preface by Jay Leno showcases the world’s quirkiest gasoline stations—and why we love them.

July 11, 2018

MILWAUKEE – Ever wonder where to find the world’s weirdest and quirkiest gasoline stations? A new photography book, It’s a Gas: The Allure of the Gas Station, highlights the strange beauty of gasoline stations, Lonely Planet reports.

Most of the photos center around retro stations in Europe and 1950s America, and many have the distinctive futuristic vibe from that era. Featured stations include the Bomber gas station that has a WWII B-17 bomber plane on its roof in Milwaukee, and “The Mushroom” with an elliptical canopy from Denmark.

Along Route 66 in the Mojave Desert, you can find Roy’s Motel and Café, and in picturesque lakes, floating gas stations service boats right on the water. Many of the stations featured have long closed or were never built, such as the one designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Former late-night talk show host Jay Leno penned the preface, writing that he views gas stations as more than places to fill tanks: “Gas stations are still a place to check out cars, especially on the weekends in Los Angeles, when folks bring out their special rides for a cruise in town, and you never know what you’ll see.”

Leno also sees the humble gas station as something quintessentially American. “The gas station is a democratic space, where, like death and taxes, everybody has to go sometime; you’ll see a new Bentley in the same station as a beat-up Ford wagon, but it’s also a great place to talk to people about their cars—how do you like it? Is it a piece of junk? What gas mileage do you get?” he wrote. “I get asked a lot of questions about the cars I drive when I’m at Los Angeles’s gas stations, it’s the democracy of the fill-up; people get to ask questions, and get to take selfies, and I’m okay with that.”