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On December 1, 1913, the World's First Drive-In Gas Station opened on "Automobile Row" at the intersection of Baum Boulevard and St. Clair Street in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


  • Photo of the world's first drive-in gas station, Baum Blvd. and St. Clair St., Pittsburgh, PA. Photo courtesy The Odd, Mysterious & Fascinating History of Pittsburgh.
  • Historical marker along Pittsburgh's Baum Blvd.
  • Another vintage photo of the first drive-in gas station.

On December 1, 1913, the World's First Drive-In Gas Station opened on "Automobile Row" at the intersection of Baum Boulevard and St. Clair Street in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
 
Filling a car with gasoline was very different 100 years ago. A driver had to hop off the seat, the gas tank was underneath - it needed gravity's help to reach the carburetor because the fuel pump wouldn't be invented for another 15 years. Check the fuel level with a dipstick, since there was no fuel gauge. And someone needed to start cranking the gas because it wasn't going to pump itself.

Only 30 gallons of gasoline, costing 27 cents a gallon, were sold on opening day, Dec 1, 1913. The station also provided free crankcase service, air, water, tires & tubes. This impressed the early drivers of the $400 Model T that sales jumped to over 350 gallons several days after the opening.

Sanserino, Michael.  "Pittsburgh's Century-Old Drive-In Gas Station First of Its Kind."  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  November 30, 2013.  Accessed November 6, 2016.  http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2013/12/01/FILL-ER-UP/stories/201312010079

"1913: First U.S. Drive-In Service Station Opens in Pittsburgh."  The Surge.  September 27, 2016.  Accessed November 6, 2016.  http://thesurge.com/stories/1913-first-u-s-drive-service-station-opens-pittsburgh