Who Else Remembers Their Southern Grandpa Keeping a Gas Station Notebook in the Car?

Core memory unlocked. 

CROP Gas Station Notebook
Photo: Getty Images/Archive Holdings Inc.

Now that the world has evolved into one big technological megacosm, we can often forget about the time before smartphones, Netflix, and online banking existed. That is, until we're hit with memories of our mothers using a telephone attached to the wall or balancing a checkbook by hand. Amongst those vague recollections of a simpler era is a somewhat perplexing practice known as the gas station notebook. If you don't remember it, let us paint the picture.

It's any decade before the 2000s. You're in the backseat of the car enjoying a dipped cone from Dairy Queen. Your parent or grandparent—most likely your grandfather who also happens to love sneaking in a Dairy Queen dipped cone before dinner—pulls up to the gas station and asks in a Southern drawl for one of the attendants to kindly fill up the gas tank. (Yes, they would fill it up for you.) Then, he or she pulls out a small notebook and starts writing mysterious numbers, logging the information away for a future time that never seemed to come. So, what is the purpose of a gas station notebook?

Basically, it's used as a log book to record mileage, how much gas went in at each service, how much money was spent, and etcetera. This information could be kept on hand for reasons such as to keep track of fuel economy of the car, ensure that the amount of gas added matches up with the amount of money spent, as well as to verify credit card statements later.

Now, did we ever see grandpa actually use that notebook and its painstakingly organized information later on? Not once. Did he continue to bring it out every time we went to the gas station? You bet. Does he say that it would be irresponsible not to do it? Of course. It's just one of those Southern dad things—like having a nap chair.

With all the gizmos and gadgets inside today's tech-savvy cars, a gas station notebook might no longer be necessary. (Was it ever?) Just don't tell grandpa.

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