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An in-depth look at Texas gas stations – past, present and future

Alyssa Olvera
Texas Standard

We don't think of gas stations much, yet they are fixtures across Texas, and tell us a lot about who we are and where we're going.

Gas stations are part of everyday life in Texas. We don't think twice about what part they play in keeping Texans on the move, much less what they might tell us about who we are, and where the road ahead might take us with changes to our environment, our infrastructure, our communities – our way of life.

There are more than 11,000 of them scattered across the state – along major highways and tiny backroads alike, they fuel up long haul trucks, hungry commuters and sometimes whole communities. In some ways, the gas station is the backbone of our economy and the center of conversation and community. In other ways, they're a blight on the landscape and, many feel, a soon-to-be anachronism.

The Texas Standard's producers and reporters hit the road to bring you an in-depth report on gas stations' history and prominence in our state, from pricing to transportation infrastructure to the future of electric vehicles.

Pumped: Food, fuel and the future of Texas is an exploration of an often-overlooked staple of our life. We'll bring you stories from the past, as well as introduce you to folks from communities around Texas whose lives have been shaped in some ways by gas stations:

From a 1923 service station to the world's biggest Buc-ee's: A brief history of gas stations in Texas
Flashy logos, customer giveaways and attendants are memories of a bygone era as stations have evolved over the past century.

In sprawling Texas, cars are king. How did we get here – and where does public transit fit in?
It would take a major shift in priorities to design cities in a way that wouldn’t rely on personal vehicles. But some progress is being made.

Tacos and tamales: Austin-based gas station chain sells fresh food with the community in mind
JD’s Market has 15 locations in the Austin area, and each comes equipped with a full kitchen.

What's the key to running a successful gas station? Tyler store owner has a few tips
Mahi Food Mart owner Daniel Shaikh has focused on location, a clean store and regularly updating his inventory to meet the needs of his community.

Quiz: The price at the pump
Let’s answer all the questions you’ve ever had – and some you never knew you had – about gas prices.

'All I want to do is drive': Meet the truck drivers who keep the supply chain running
These truckers are defying stereotypes while balancing their love of the road with their love of family.

Postcards from around the state
Snapshots from three Texas gas stations.

When cars run on batteries, not gas, where will we go for a fill-up?
It takes a lot longer to charge an electric vehicle than it does to fill your gas tank – and the future likely holds more charging options, and more ways to occupy your time while you wait.

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