On January 1st of this year, Oregon passed a law that allowed self-serve gas stations to operate, but only on a limited basis, “only at stand-alone gas stations in counties with fewer than 40,000 residents. Elsewhere, the ban still holds.”
New Jersey is the lone holdout state on prohibiting self-serve gas stations. That’s right, for decades self-serve gas stations have been operating in the United States with no harmful effects, but these two states know better.
The reactions of some Oregonians read like comments from a satire site. Are their people out there who are this inept and unwilling to learn something new?
- “Many people are not capable of knowing how to pump gas and the hazards of not doing it correctly. Besides I don’t want to go to work smelling of gas when I get it on my hands or clothes. I agree Very bad idea.”
- “I don’t even know HOW to pump gas and I am 62, native Oregonian… I say NO THANKS! I don’t want to smell like gasoline!”
- “I’ve lived in this state all my life and I REFUSE to pump my own gas. I had to do it once in California while visiting my brother and almost died doing it. This a service only qualified people should perform. I will literally park at the pump and wait until someone pumps my gas. I can’t even”
For these people and others like them, here’s a site that will help them learn how to pump their own gas: WikiHow has a step-by-step set of visual instructions with a written explanation on how to pump your own gas. There’s even a question and answer section.
Gas stations could make available an attendant to help people who are hesitant about pumping their own gas. Over time, everyone will have learned. gas stations could give them a sticker that says, “I can pump my own gas.” Parents should teach their children how to pump their own gas like they should teach them how to check the oil and change a flat tire.
There were those in the state legislature who opposed legislation to make self-serve gas stations available to the public. Even though 48 states operate self-serve gas stations, and have done so for decades, these numbskulls came up with ridiculous reasons to ban people from pumping their own gas and thereby save money.
As part of the Oregon law, legislators listed a staggering 17 different reasons to defend the state’s “prohibition on the self-service dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids at retail.” According to the legislature, pumping your own gas is a “health hazard,” whereas requiring “properly trained” attendants to pump gas “reduces fire hazards.” In addition, self-service stations expose customers to “the dangers of crime and slick surfaces,” while leaving small children in the car to pay for gas “creates a dangerous situation.” (Forbes)
These three caught my attention:
(7) Exposure to toxic fumes represents a health hazard to customers dispensing Class 1 flammable liquids;
(8) The hazard described in subsection (7) of this section is heightened when the customer is pregnant;
(9) The exposure to Class 1 flammable liquids through dispensing should, in general, be limited to as few individuals as possible, such as gasoline station owners and their employees or other trained and certified dispensers (Oregon Laws)
I worked at a gas station while in high school and college. It took about 5 minutes for me to be “properly trained.” Self-serve stations in Michigan were just coming online when I was a student at Western Michigan University in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I pumped a lot of gas for customers…