Twain Harte’s only gas station has working pumps again, and will shortly have a new name.
Wayne and Lori Smith still own the station at 22890 Twain Harte Drive, which they bought in April 1986. They are in the process of changing the name from Wayne’s Twain Harte Shell to Wayne’s Twain Harte Gas and Service.
It is an unbranded gas station now, which means the Smiths can shop around for the best price of gas. On Saturday, they were charging $3.37 per gallon for unleaded, with a 5-cent discount to $3.32 per gallon for cash.
The cash discount is a permanent new feature.
Lori Smith said she plans to hold a party in the next few weeks to celebrate the return of gas sales and the station’s 25-year anniversary. She hopes people will watch for flyers, to be disbursed throughout the area, giving details.
“We will have a live band and lots of gassy foods,” she said with a chuckle.
Former employee Shane Myhre, who stopped to buy gas Saturday, said having gas in Twain Harte again would make it a lot easier for him to get around since he doesn’t have to leave his hometown to keep his tank full any more.
Dave Lawrence, also of Twain Harte, said a lot fewer people will be running out of gas.
The Smiths voluntarily stopped selling gasoline about a year ago because they couldn’t afford the most recently required upgrades. He remained open, however, doing auto repairs and maintenance.
He said he upgraded his underground tanks in 1998, but new requirements were added virtually every year, which meant more work and more money.
In October, the State Water Resources Control Board said his request for a grant to pay for the most recent state-mandated improvements was approved.
The money comes from California’s Superfund, enacted to identify and clean up sites that have been contaminated by hazardous substances. It is paid for with a 2-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline paid by gas station owners.
The station was approved for roughly $50,000 in upgrades, which included a required enhanced vapor recovery system and new pumps.
The work was completed a few weeks ago.