Gas Station Signs During the 1973 Oil Crisis

Do You Remember When Gas Stations Used to Give Free Gifts?

We are down to the last glass we got free at a gas station.

We never got a tiger tail in our gas tank, but I saw them around, for those who shopped at Exxon and wanted to “Put a tiger in your tank.”

Of course, all gas stations had free maps.

Why Did They Stop Doing It?

Giveaways were popular in the 60s, to lure customers away from the competition, when gasoline prices were competitive.

This lasted right up until the 1973 oil crisis, after OPEC declared an oil embargo in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel.

The price of gas skyrocketed

Click here for the price of gas from 1919 to 2004.

Again, in 1979, with the collapse of the Iranian government, the price of gasoline skyrocketed.

Long lines at gas stations were filled with drivers who were not interested in giveaway premiums, just gas.

What About Self-Service?

Somewhere along the way, self-serve gas stations became popular because they saved gas station owners money on attendants and were faster for drivers.

Giveaway glasses had a brief resurgence in the 1980s, as gas station operators struggled to compete with the newly-emerging convenience store/gas station business model.

My question is, why has a glass I’ve had for at least 20 years survive over the many glasses I’ve bought since?

I want to know who their manufacturer was.

Do you remember getting gifts when you bought gas?

What gifts did you get?

Did you ask your parents to shop at one gas station over another because of their gifts?

To you and helping your grandchildren understand value.

Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers

Thank you to the hundreds of readers who nominated me for best grandparenting blog. I did not make it into the top five, but would like to ask you to vote for my next favorite grandparenting blog, Grandma’s Briefs.

Click here to vote for Grandmas’ Briefs for Best Grandparenting Blog at


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