You paid what for gas?!

I remember when . . . Kenny Mensink, left, remembers gas at 10¢ per gallon. That was a few years ago! Jay Ryon, Lyle Ryon and John Petru also reminisced about the good ol’ days.

I remember when . . .
Kenny Mensink, left, remembers gas at 10¢ per gallon. That was a few years ago! Jay Ryon, Lyle Ryon and John Petru also reminisced about the good ol’ days.

By Marcie Klomp
The price of gas has been going down slowly in the past month. It even went below $3.00 for the first time in about a year! Now in northeast Iowa it has been lingering around the $2.80 mark.
Just for fun, Lime Springs Herald decided to ask some locals what was the lowest they paid for gas. Their answers can be a little surprising. But as one person mentioned, the price of gas back then didn’t seem cheap, and there wasn’t a whole lot of unnecessary driving taking place . . . well unless you were driving the strip. That strip could be Elm Street in Cresco or Main Street in Lime Springs. Ahhhh the memories that evokes!

Sandy Johnson remembers paying 25¢ for gas. Way back when, Shaw was around eight and Dawn was around four when the family went to Arizona. “We were going to go into the Grand Canyon and we were just about out of gas. We about had a heart attack. We had to pay 75¢!”

Ed Walter doesn’t remember exact prices, but he does remember graduating in 1957. “I filled up my dad’s 1950 Chevy for less than $5.00.” He and his friends would then drive around. “We used to call it cruising range.” At that time there were seven or eight gas stations in Cresco. Mikesh had a Shell station about where Kwik Star is now. “He always had a gas war. Everybody else just hated him!”

Jordan Guyer paid 85¢. “Or something like that. It was many, many, many years ago,” he smiled.

Elsbeth Richter started driving in 1937. She doesn’t remember what the price of gas was, but she does remember the car was always filled. She had a lot of fun riding with others.
Vickie Ator recalls purchasing gas for 35¢ per gallon back in the day.

Evelyn Truka doesn’t remember how much it was per gallon. “We just used to buy a dollar’s worth. Then hope we had a nickel left over for a candy bar!”

Duane Copeman remembers buying five gallons of gas for $1.00 at Wilkens’ Store at Granger. “You had to pump it by hand. You stood by this big tall thing with a glass deal on top. You would pump until it was full, and when you pumped it into your car, it would come down. The bubble would show one gallon, two gallons up to 10 gallons.”

When he moved to Colorado in 1957, it was 32.9¢ for years. “There were two to three stations that always had a gas war.”
Jay Ryon and Lyle Ryon explained how gas wars worked. The station that started the gas war was on its own, but the owners of the other stations that had to drop their prices were compensated by the parent company.

Richard Nagele said when he was growing up in the early 1990s, he and his dad were up in the Cities, gas was 99.9¢ per gallon. “It’s always been over two bucks since I was driving. I don’t pay much attention. It is what it is.”

Janet Henry remembers it being 23¢ per gallon. “For a dollar, we could go somewhere.”

Adam Munkel recalled, “I guess $1.03 stands out in my head. It was when I first started driving.”

In 1968, Tom Beck remembers getting gas for 16¢ a gallon during a gas war at a Teddy Station in Greeley, Colo. “It was my first paid vacation. For $68, we went all the way to Yellowstone Park and back. We both paid $6.00 for a helicopter ride over the badlands. That was our big splurge of the trip.”

Sheryl Ellison was asked about the price of gas and couldn’t come up with an answer, but then it piqued her own curiosity, so she looked through some old records. She found that in 1962, she was charged $7.35 for car gas on the farm. That figures to 14.7¢.

Kenny Mensink recalls paying a dime a gallon. “We’d put in 50¢ of gas and drive all Sunday in Cherry Grove. We might have even driven to Granger.”

Percy Hendrickson was the winner of the lowest price paid—nine cents. You’d expect him to have paid that earlier than Mensink’s 1930s price of 10¢ per gallon, but Hendrickson paid that price in 1955! “There was a gas war going on in Waterloo. Most of the time it was around 24¢ at that time. I worked down there for three years.”

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