Jun 17, 2011 • By

When the gas pumps went dry

We’ve got an auto service center and gas station at our headquarters, allowing employees to have their cars conveniently worked on during the day, or to get gassed up before the drive home.

During the summer of 1979, complaints about the price of gasoline had given way to a more immediate issue – finding gas no matter what the price.

At all stations in the Minneapolis area, including the one at General Mills, gas was being rationed. The auto service center was only selling gas on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

With each delivery, the wholesale price went up a bit, as well as the pump price. The center had to take extra precautions to ensure that only General Mills employees obtained gas at the pumps. Employees were reminded to keep their identification card handy.

In May 1979, the center ran out of unleaded gas. On June 5, the regular gas also ran out and the pumps were dry until a new delivery was received a week later.

In a report in “The Minneapolis Millwheel, Ted Betker, then the director of Minneapolis General Office Facilities and Services said, “Facing the cold hard facts, I think the time has come for employees to think much more seriously about car pools and vans or public transportation.”

Editor’s note: The photo is from “The Minneapolis Millwheel”, Jun-July, 1979. Left to right, John Grones and Jan Hart.

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