Oregon Looks at Legalizing Self-Serve Gas

Oregon is one of two states in the union that does not allow motorists to pump their own gas. Citizens in the state’s more rural counties can pump their own gas but in the larger metropolitan areas, and along the state’s major highways, it’s still a no-no.

The Oregon Legislature is taking a look at a bill that would change that and allow gas stations to offer consumers the option of doing it themselves or having an employee pump gas for them.

Rep. Julie Fahey is one of the nine sponsors of the bill.

“I believe it’s our job as legislators to be responsive to what the people we represent want, and to be willing to re-evaluate the policies we have in place when they may no longer serve us,” she said.

Oregon banned self-service pumping in 1951. Unless they travel out of state, that means many Oregonians have little or no experience doing their own thing.

Another sponsor, Sen. Janeen Sollman said, “This bill still provides choice to drivers. This is incredibly important for drivers like my 79-year-old mother-in-law, who in no way wishes to pump her own gas.”

Skeptics like retired attorney, Nyla Jebousek, doubt stations will — once this bill passes — give people the choice to pump or not. They won’t keep an employee on staff to pump that gas.

“Seniors and disabled persons will be the biggest losers,”Jebousek told the Joint Transportation Committee. “I have been to self service states that designated a disabled gas pump. No one comes. Others have a sign in the window of the booth stating you can request assistance. No one comes.”

The bill addresses that issue and stations not offering full service could see fines of up to $5,000.

Gas station owners like the idea. That is — as gas station owner, Haseeb Shojai said — if they can find enough employees to pump the gas.

“We offer very competitive wages in line with major box stores and national retailers, but unfortunately it has been really difficult to find help,” Shojai said. “The labor shortage will be a problem for an extended period of time.”

He — like most Oregonians — believes consumers can very easily pump their own gas. “It literally takes three pushes of a button,” he said. “It’s not difficult. It’s not dangerous.”

Gas station union lobbyist, Madison Walters disagrees and in her testimony before the committee said this is a bad idea.

“Our members are trained to use gas pumps safely and effectively,” Walters said and noted that this bill will be the first jab in a path that will “lead to the reduction and subsequent disappearance of jobs, and a higher risk of spills and dangerous accidents.”

Source link: OregonLive.com


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