For Drivers in 2 States, Big Change Looms at Gas Pump

New Jersey, Oregon may finally allow drivers to pump their own gas
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2022 1:45 PM CST
For Drivers in 2 States, Big Change Looms at Gas Pump
A motorist pumps gasoline at a Mobil gas station.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Out-of-state drivers heading through New Jersey or Oregon likely encounter a surprise when they stop for gas: In those states, drivers (mostly) still can't pump their own. Now, however, both states are considering legislation to finally allow the practice, reports the Hill. Rising gas prices and a tight labor market—it's tough to find attendants—are two big reasons behind the impetus. Technically, New Jersey is the only state to outlaw self-service pumps entirely. As the Oregonian reported, Oregon eased its rules in 2015 to allow them at some rural gas stations at night. The state also allowed self-service during the early days of the pandemic, but, generally speaking, self-service is still a foreign concept in the state.

“It’s about time. It’s only 73 years, let’s get a grip here,” said New Jersey Assemblyman Edward Thomson, per Politico. He is the Republican leader in the chamber, and his co-sponsor on the bill is Democratic Whip Carol Murphy. “Every other state has it. It’s not a safety issue. The new pumps are as safe as can be.” Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy notes that self-service gas has long "been sort of a political third rail in New Jersey," and previous efforts have failed. However, it appears the new legislation has a better chance, though the Hill sees the prospects in both states as "uncertain." Each would require that stations continue to offer full-service but add self-service as an option. (More New Jersey stories.)

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