You Still Can’t Pump Your Own Gas In These 2 US States
No matter what state you live or travel in, gas prices are a big topic these days. However, many of us take for granted that we can pump that gas into our vehicles ourselves. Residents and visitors in two states are not so lucky.
In Oregon and New Jersey, gas station attendants will pump your gas—not you.
Oregon and New Jersey are the two US states where it is illegal to pump your own gas. You are required to stay in your vehicle and let a station attendant pump your gas. There are various reasons for this and we’ll get to them. The problem with this law seems to be that during busy times and with a lack of station attendants, gas lines in these states can get long.
On road trips into and out of Oregon, my husband and I actively try to avoid gassing up because the process is so annoying. We’ll pay the higher prices in California or gas up ourselves in Nevada or Washington instead. I’m sure that travelers in New Jersey may try the same thing in neighboring states.
Why can’t you pump your own gas in Oregon and New Jersey?
The laws for these states have been around for over 70 years and were created for several reasons.
In Oregon, the law is a little more relaxed than New Jersey’s and only applies to counties with more than 40,000 residents. In New Jersey, the ban is completely statewide. The legislature for each state has come up with various reasons why the no self-serve ban is in effect:
- The ban is due to health hazards caused by gas fumes and the potential for fires caused by cigarettes or lighters.
- Service attendants can keep an eye on safety standards while pumping gas.
- Insurance rates for gas stations increase when customers are allowed to pump their own gas.
- The cost of fuel stays down since the ban prohibits full-service gas stations from charging higher prices to compete against self-service gas stations.
- The self-service ban allows attendants to earn a larger salary.
Whether or not these reasons are true, they were enough to make it a law. In each state, any station attendee or owner that allows a customer to fuel up their own car can face fines up to several hundred dollars.
Residents of each state are used to it and even enjoy it on rainy or stormy days when they don’t have to get out of their cars. In fact, some New Jersey residents even pride themselves on the ban with t-shirts stating, “Jersey girls don’t pump gas.”
Will the laws change?
However, with COVID-19 restrictions, lack of labor, and record gas prices, both these laws may change in the future. Gas station owners are struggling to even keep their stations open if they can’t fulfill the full-service requirement. Perfectly capable adults also want to pump their own gas.
In both states, bills were brought up this year to change the law and add a self-service option. Both bills failed to pass.
It seems that a 70-year-old law is more difficult to turn around once you get used to it.
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