Prior to 1910, there was little need for gas stations since car owners were mostly rich hobbyists. To have fuel, they normally go to a local kerosene refinery found in the city outskirts and carry a bucket of fuel to their cars. In 1908, car ownership became more common and hardware stores and carriage makers began to offer gas pump in their front stoop located in busy central cities. Soon, cars began lining up to refuel, blocking major urban thoroughfares. The first gasoline station was built between 1920 and 1960 to serve Kentucky's growing motoring public.
Modern gas stations are now very different in terms of technology (among other things) from vintage gas stations. A lot modern gas stations have branched out to other businesses – they offer convenience stores that sell a myriad of items ranging from cigarette, food, beverage, lottery tickets, motor oil and even automobile parts. Prices of these products are higher compared to those in the supermarket or discount store.
In many states in America, beer, wine and liquor are sold in gas stations. Some states such as Massachusetts do not allow any forms of alcohol to be sold in gas stations. Nevada, on the other hand, allows the sale of alcohol such as beer, wine and liquor. These states even let gas station owners operate slot machines and video poker machines inside their gas stations.
Many gas stations are also better at customer care. They provide towels and toilet facilities for customer use. The cleanliness and facilities of these public facilities varies, though.
Many gas stations have air compressors with tire gauges and water machines. Some of these services are available free of charge, but some gas stations charge a very minimal fee. Normally, the fee rangers from twenty five cents to one dollar. In many states in the United States, free air is provided for paying customers, as required by law.