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A Gasoline Price War in St. Petersburg, Florida, 1964

This October 22, 1964, press photo shows thrifty motorists lined up for over a block to take advantage of the gas price wars which were common at the time. All this waiting in line would net the driver an average savings of three cents a gallon, but at the time saving a dollar was a big thing to many, especially at the time with the largely retired population of St. Peterburg.

The caption tells us that these motorists were filling up at the prices seen on the signs which were down from 24.9 and 26.9 the day before. The manager of Meyer’s Shell Service at 1517 Central Ave. told the reporter that he was getting 26.9 for regular and 30.9 for high test. It is interesting to note that all of the big American gas hogs are in line waiting, while a smaller gas sipping Fiat drives right on by. The Old Motor photo.

7 responses to “A Gasoline Price War in St. Petersburg, Florida, 1964

  1. The smaller car driving by is a Fiat 1100. Appears to be an 1100 D. Production of the 1100 D began in 1962 continuing the ongoing evolution of the 1100 series introduced in 1953.

  2. David, at that time, we had Webb’s City only a few blocks away. Most gas wars in St. Pete were started by Doc Webb. Doc would cut his Gulf No-Nox prices several cents below the lowest price around. His grandson Troy tells this story “My career continues and at age 12 I was pumping gas at the Webb’s City Trading Post for 17 cents a gallon. Some days the cars would line up ½ a mile long. Doc would stop by to get gas in his very large 1967 Lincoln (which was raffled of every year to some lucky shopper). He would say “Troy Boy” on your way in did you notice any other gas station with prices lower than mine.” Webb’s City was the first superstore in the USA with 77 stores taking up seven full city blocks. As you note, people would wait in line for hours to save just a few cents more. Google “Webbs City” and have some fun reading about the man who sold dollar bills for 89 cents.

  3. I just ran those prices through an inflation calculator… $.22 per gallon in 1964 would equate to $1.63 per gallon now… Hmmmm…. Actually, I pumped gas at a D-X station during my teen years in the mid 60’s. About the cheapest I can remember is 30.9 or so for regular, and about 34.9 for “D-X Super Boron”. We were never involved in a gas war, but there were some at other places in my neighborhood. I’d say it’s an old idea whose time has returned! I’m always amazed at how supposedly “competitive” oil companies seem to have exactly the same price hikes on exactly the same day…

  4. Reminds me of the cheapest gas I ever purchased–19.9 cents a gallon at an off-brand station (at the foot of the Mississippi River bridge) in Dubuque, Iowa, circa 1965.

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