Gas stations are an American icon, recalling the open road, Route 66, and the ribbons of highway that grew our country. There is only a slight problem: Where we’re headed, we don’t need gas. As electric and hybrid cars become more prevalent--and if recent Prius sales numbers are a harbinger, they certainly will--gas stations are going to have to retool to provide electricity and other amenities. What we won’t need, though, are the gas pumps themselves, except as a relic of the time when we used the polluting bodies of long dead organic material to power our cars. In Australia, Nissan Leaf realized that instead of just trashing all the gas pumps, we might as well find something productive to do with them.
You can see all the options they came up with at the Zero Petrol site. They call it petrol because they’re Australian. They also call gas pumps, adorably, "bowsers." The bowsers have been redesigned to be anything from a book shelf to a disco ball to a dog house. You can vote on your favorite, and you might win it. What will actually become of the gas pumps is probably less fun: They’ll slowly rust away or be scrapped as gas becomes less and less of a commodity. But turning them all into gumball machines seems like a much better option.