Oregon Ends Its 72-Year Ban on Pumping Your Own Gas

Oregon ends its 72-year-ban on self-service as gas stations | Photo courtesy of Shuttershock
Oregon ends its 72-year-ban on self-service as gas stations | Photo courtesy of Shuttershock

If you’ve driven through Oregon and hurriedly pulled into a gas station hoping to swipe your card and be out of there in 7 minutes flat you were up for a surprise. Because in Oregon that responsibility belongs to a gas station attendant whose job is to do it for you, which is something you only see in The Andy Griffith Show or other old-timey programs.

That is until Oregon lawmakers gave the green light to a bill that ends the state’s 72-year ban on self-service at gas stations, leaving New Jersey the only remaining state in the U.S. to require gas station attendants. This change will be implemented immediately once the bill is signed into law by Gov. Tina Kotek, according to The Oregonian.

Why Did Oregon Ban Self-Service?

Having ready and willing fuel attendants is a throwback to the days in which full service was the norm, and self-service was considered risky for an average person to handle a flammable liquid. In those days, a gas station attendant would do more than just refuel your car. They would also clean your windshield, check your tires, check your oil, etc. In other words, they really lived up to the definition of what it means to perform a full-service checkup on your car every time you pull into the station.

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What Does This New Bill Mean?

Part of Oregon’s 72-year-ban was related with the state’s protection on entry-level jobs. With more daily commuters visiting gas stations every day, there would be longer build-ups of cars waiting for their turn at the pump. To help streamline this issue, oil companies wanted the law changed. But according to the Northwest Grocery Association, adding self-service to gas stations wouldn’t affect job loss mainly because understaffed stations would have to shut down half the available pumps in order to protect the attendant’s job.

According to House Bill 2426, it doesn’t eliminate gas station attendants’ jobs. It merely requires that at least half of a station’s available pumps be open to full service. Meanwhile, the other available pumps must be self-serve. Lastly, the bill prevents Oregon gas station attendants from charging higher prices for their services.

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