Twenty questions that uncover how much you know about retail petroleum.

People never seem to get enough of trivia and trivia contests, even though the term basically means insignificant knowledge. Maybe that’s why people like it. It gives them a break from the daily grind and more serious matters. Plus it’s fun.

So here’s our first trivia question—how long has the concept been around?                       

We bet you didn’t guess 1589, but that’s the answer, although at that time the concept was a little less universal—it meant information that only the most intellectual could know. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the meaning of the term evolved to mean the pursuit of frivolous or obscure facts, probably spread first by radio quiz contests (of which “Take It or Leave It” from the 1940’s is purported to be the first). The trend continued up through the popular TV quiz shows of the 50’s and 60’s, which made it profitable to mine obscure facts and provide cash for those who knew them. Today that torch is carried, most notably, by Jeopardy.

Trivia was first embraced by college students in the 1960s, gained more exposure from that, and then about a decade later, became inseparable from pubs in the U.K., eventually migrating over to U.S. bars where owners found they could pack in an audience with a rousing game or two. In 1981, the board game Trivial Pursuit entered the picture, ushering trivia debates into the home.

Maybe because it’s easy to prove you’re a master in your own obscure field of expertise, whether it’s Italian Progressive Rock or pre-code horror comics, that makes trivia so attractive. So in honor of the topic at hand, SSCS has put together 20 questions about the retail petroleum industry and related topics. Please try your hand at it. We’ll publish the answers next week.

  1. Which company operates the largest chain of gas stations worldwide?
  2. In what decade did self-service gas stations begin to prevail in the United States?
  3. Which country is known for having the highest number of gas stations per capita?
  4. What is the average size of a convenience store in square feet?
  5. Which gas station and convenience store chain introduced the concept of a “loyalty card” in the United States?
  6. What is the second ingredient in a Snickers bar?
  7. Which well-known fast food chain started out as a gas station?
  8. What is the oldest soft drink in America?
  9. According to FDA regulations, for peanut butter to be labeled as peanut butter, it must contain what percentage of peanuts?
  10. In 1974, what was the first product scanned by a UPC scanner?
  11. What’s the fictional gas brand in the Pixar Cars movies?
  12. How much money does the average American spend on lottery tickets each year?
  13. How many bodegas are there in NYC?
  14. While we’re on the topic of New York City, the world’s first road made for cars was paved in which of its five boroughs?
  15. What year was the first electric vehicle created?
  16. How many gallons are in a barrel of oil?
  17. The first digit on a credit card tells you which industry issued the card. As an example, 1 and 2 indicate an airline card. What digit represents gas/fuel cards?
  18. How long does an average visit to the convenience store take? Extra points for knowing how long the average trip to a traditional grocery store takes.
  19. What does the letter M stand for in the common Oil industry acronym OBM? (Oil-Based _____)
  20. What year was SSCS founded?

Well, that should keep you busy, and even if you don’t have the time to look up the answers, don’t worry, we’ll be publishing them next week. See you then!