Not being able to pump your own gas in Oregon isn’t that bad

You may have seen that Oregon is in the news today after people started making fun of Oregonians who are very against a change in the state’s gas pumping law.

In Oregon (like New Jersey), you’re not allowed to pump your own gas. When you pull up to a gas station here, an attendant comes up to your window, you give him or her your credit card and tell them what kind of gas you want. If you try to get out of your car at the pump and do it yourself, you get scolded and they wave you back in your car (I made that mistake when I first moved here, just out of habit).

But that changed on Jan. 1, when people in Oregon’s rural counties were given the right to pump their own gas.

That did not sit well with some longtime Oregonians, who aired their concerns on the Facebook page of a local TV station.

I’m not going to defend those people, because of course they can pump their own gas with no problem and it’s not the big deal they’re making it out to be.

However, I’ve actually come to enjoy the original law quite a bit in the six months we’ve lived here.

It’s almost like having the option between going into a fast food restaurant to order or being able to use the drive-through lane. Why do so many people use the drive-through? Because it’s more convenient and they don’t want to get out of their cars.

So it’s actually pretty nice when it’s cold outside and you don’t even have to get out of your car to fill up the gas tank. You can just sit there with the window rolled up and look at your phone while someone else does it — guilt-free!

I know it’s lazy to think that way, but it’s actually the law here, so you don’t have a choice anyway (plus, it creates jobs!). Well, until now (in some counties).

Anyway, if you were someone who lived in Oregon for your entire life and got used to it, I can see why those people might be bummed to see it go away.

13 Replies to “Not being able to pump your own gas in Oregon isn’t that bad”

  1. Do they charge more per gallon? Back in the day service stations had self-service price per gallon and then they had a price about 20 cents higher per gallon to have the attendant pump the gas.

    1. In New Jersey we always had some of the cheapest gas around (gas tax raise changed that, but it’s still comparable)

        “The only thing you could argue is that New Jerseyans are more flammable than people in the other 49 states. Because we eat so much oily pizza, funnel cake and fries, maybe you could make that argument. Otherwise, it’s simply ridiculous.”

        DECLAN J. O’SCANLON JR., a Republican assemblyman from Monmouth County, on New Jersey’s distinction as the last state in the nation where drivers are not allowed to pump their own gasoline.

    2. The price is not inflated to that point. Often time it’s the same if not a little less than gas in Washington or California.

  2. Very interesting… I would think the cost of the attendant has to be added to the price per gallon. In Ga, I pay around $2.20 for regular. Also, does the guy clean your windshield and check the oil like in the old days?

    Here’s a great story about this subject… My wife’s mother and her 3 sisters were telling stories on each other that were really funny. They all grew up in eastern NC and when they were in their 20’s, they drove up to DC for a long weekend. Before they left, one sister suggested to the owner of the car that she should make sure everything about the car was OK for the trip. She suggested they check the oil among other things. The car owner said, “We can’t check the oil.” When asked why, she said, “I don’t have one of those sticks the guy at the Pure station uses to check the oil.”

    Laughed so had, I cried.

  3. I remember my Mom would choose a gas station depending on how well the attendant cleaned the windshield!

    I think you are finding out this is a topic that will define generations, Jeff!

  4. Having lived in New Jersey my whole life (just about 3 miles from the Truex family) I can say I completely agree with you. I love not having to pump my own gas. I mean…I do it if I have to when I’m out of the state. But if it’s in my control, I do my best to get gas here…maybe I’m lazy, but I love the convenience.

  5. I really enjoyed that when I went through Oregon. I certainly don’t mind spending a few cents more per gallon when it gives so many jobs to primarily high schoolers and college kids from what I saw.

  6. Oh thank you for writting this. I’ve wanted to ask you about it since I saw it posted by someone on FB a few days ago but didn’t know which forum to us. I was honestly shocked that you can’t do it. It’s a lesson for everyone I think. Each state has its own strange little laws (says the girl who live in Indiana where one can’t buy alcohol on a Sunday)

  7. I remember when we the full service days. Then they started phasing them out. We had a couple stations that held on for a while. Oooh to go back to “the good ol’ days”. I would happily sit in my car, enjoy the warmth and not have to freeze my butt off or get drowned by the blowing rain.

  8. The problem with the old law was the State outlawed pumping your own gas, which is an infringement on freedom. The more sensible law would make it the driver’s option to pump their own gas or not. Leave it to the station what to charge for the gas/service. We are not babies – we don’t need the State to be our nannies.

  9. There is no way that having attendants pump the gas doesn’t raise the price. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next two years…. Will the convenience factor allow gas stations with attendants to compete, or will lower prices at “pump your own stations” result in those gas stations with attendants being at a competitive disadvantage. You may find that in a few years there won’t be any gas stations with attendants left.

  10. That’s funny, being from Colorado we pump our own gas, but when we went to visit our daughter in Oregon we went to put gas in the car and we were surrounded by people trying to put the gas in it and we were confused, and then we left because we forgot what full service was all about!!

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