A pit stop at the world's most colourful petrol stations

From Dubai to Vietnam, here's where to go if you want to fill up in style

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A vintage pump in the Vietnamese hills; a Madrid petrol station topped with a giant sombrero; a multicoloured futuristic fuel outlet in Dubai — filling stops around the world have become increasingly creative.

Despite rising fuel prices, more electric vehicles and government bids to reduce our reliance on hydrocarbons, petrol stations remain emblems of modern society.

In Dubai, the brightly lit, multicoloured gas stop at Expo City, pictured below, catches the eyes of passers-by.

Below, a Pumpa station in Matuskovo, Slovakia, looks like three hovering spaceships lighting up the night sky.

In Birstall, Leicestershire, in the east midlands of England, the Red Hill petrol station features six circular canopies topped with green, something of a local landmark.

The Grade II-listed building is an example of the futuristic "Pegasus" design created by US industrial designer Eliot Noyes.

Some designs hark back to the past, such as this Axion station in Montevideo, Uruguay, that recalls nostalgia from decades ago.

This Shell petrol station, pictured a dusk, sits in the rather deserted landscape of Feira de Santana, in Bahia state, Brazil.

In many places it's just corrugated sheeting. In a typical fuel outlet in Nimba county, Liberia, pictured below, fuel is sold using jerrycans and people fill their vehicles using funnels.

Elsewhere in Africa, over in the east, a petrol station is protected by a cage at night in Kisumu, Kenya.

At night the Union 76 petrol station in Beverly Hills looks like a spaceship that has landed next to the palm trees of Little Santa Monica Boulevard. It is recognised as a prime example of Googie architecture, and was chosen by British rocker Noel Gallagher in 2011 for the cover of his first album with the High Flying Birds.

In Moscow, the oldest filling station in the city centre was established in the 1930s. Nine decades later, this sober cream and red building is still there, in the shadow of golden-domed Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

Some are even being recycled, such as one former petrol station in Phnom Penh, in Cambodia, which has taken the concept of ecological transition to a logical conclusion: instead of fuel, its main product on sale now is plants.

Updated: September 30, 2022, 6:01 PM
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