Home Government Proposed Bill Would Allow N.J. Residents to Pump Their Own Gas

Proposed Bill Would Allow N.J. Residents to Pump Their Own Gas

29
SHARE
Pumping gas. (Credit: futureatlas.com/Flickr)
Pumping gas. (Credit: futureatlas.com/Flickr)

A proposal by state Sen. Declan O’Scanlon would phase in self-service fuel pumps in New Jersey, poking one of the first holes in a tradition that’s as uniquely “Jersey” as the roadside diner or Lucy the Elephant.

O’Scanlon’s bill, announced Friday, would decriminalize the act of pumping one’s own gas and provide for self-service islands at New Jersey’s gas stations. Each facility would be required to operate at least one island of full service pumps for three years following enactment, and the bill also allows for gas retailers to charge a lesser price for self-service gasoline.

The reasoning for the prohibition on pumping one’s own gas dates back to the 1949 law that made self-service illegal in the first place. The law states that because of the “fire hazard directly associated with dispensing fuel,” the practice should be left to attendants who know not to smoke around pumps and can advise motorists to turn off their engines prior to fueling up. Since then, the real story has emerged in several venues of why it was made illegal, namely, to keep prices higher after a station owner decided to discount his fuel to those who would pump it themselves. The full story was retold by Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine last year.

ADVERTISEMENT - STORY CONTINUES BELOW


New Jersey is one of two states – the other is Oregon – that prohibits pumping one’s own gas. There, the debate has centered around retaining jobs for attendants. A proposal is currently on the table in Oregon to allow rural counties to convert to self-service. Even in New Jersey, there are already some instances where the full service law does not apply. Diesel fuel can be pumped by a driver, and on the water, it is standard (and legal) practice for boaters to fill their own tanks using the same pumps and nozzles that are used to fill the tanks of cars.

O’Scanlon said the safety argument just doesn’t hold water.

“I am offended by people that argue that New Jerseyans are mentally incapable of pumping their own gas without setting themselves on fire,” he said in a statement issued on the bill.

O’Scanlon jokingly said he would insert language into the bill that would require gas stations to put a warning label in bright neon colors on each pump saying, “Do not, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, set yourself on fire!”

“I think that should resolve these concerns,” he said.

The effort to allow self-service, which has bi-partisan support, may not necessarily prove popular. A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll conducted in 2012 showed 63 percent of Garden State residents wanted to maintain full service.

Should New Jersey Residents Be Allowed to Pump Their Own Gas?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

SHARE
  • Glenn

    I like the inconvience of having someone pump my gas. Better than going to work with gas smells on my suit.

    • Sathya Prabhakar

      You’re wrong wrong, Glenn. NJ residents must have the self serve option. People need to have a choice. There shouldn’t be full serve alone.

  • Thomas A. Mathis

    I spend a lot of time in a state that allows us to pump our own gas. Much faster and easier to pull up to the pump, enter your own card and pump gas. Waiting for some pump jockey to get around to your car is frustrating for me when home. Gas stations work much faster with self service.

    • Brandy the Dog

      Hi Thomas, How are you? I think many people will agree with you on this. I just think it’s easier for me to pull in and say “Fill her up”, I feel it’s safer, easier and I don’t have to worry about the weather conditions. When I travel out of state, I hate having to go to a gas station. I guess having the option is good but I won’t be frequenting the self service line in NJ.
      Good to hear from you!

      • Thomas A. Mathis

        Hi Brandy. After reading some of the replies on here I realize my posting did not take into account the bad weather months. Perhaps it is best to leave things as they are in NJ.

      • Sathya Prabhakar

        NO. You’re wrong Thomas. It’s not okay to have full serve alone. It’s best to have self serve with the full serve option. That way a choice is better. A lot of people support me on that. If people are in a hurry and want to pump their own gas. They can have that choice. That way they don’t have to wait in long lines.. The law mustn’t stay the way it is. It should change at some point. Even if you’d rather have somebody else pump your gas for you. It’s better to give everybody else the self serve option if they want it.

      • Thomas A. Mathis

        Kind of old news to argue about now. A choice would be good.

      • Sathya Prabhakar

        Well, let’s see what happens. I better go after the legislators myself. I’ll somehow convince them to change the law.

      • Sathya Prabhakar

        Brandy, it’s not okay to keep the law the way it is. The way it is now is wrong and very inconvenient. People need options as to whether they want somebody else to pump it for them or do it themselves. Everybody needs options.

      • Sathya Prabhakar

        Yes Brandy. A choice is better than no choice. Full and self serve is better. People would still be employed.

      • Brandy the Dog

        Hi Sathya, I am not against having the option of a self serve. I just prefer full serve, I can stay in my car when the weather is bad, I feel it’s safer and it is convenient. This issue seems to be bothering you, have you had to wait in long lines to get gas lately? I know many people think the self serve is faster, not the poor customer that would be behind me, quite frankly I would feel sorry for them.

    • Sathya Prabhakar

      You’re right Tom. NJ needs to change the law. It’s better to have full and self serve together instead of full or self serve alone.

  • Frank Rizzo

    So what would you brain surgeons propose we do with these people

    http://media-dis-n-dat.blogspot.com/2012/01/tampa-florida-ordinance-aids-disabled.html

    • Brandy the Dog

      I read the info you provided, it is extremely difficult for a handicapped person to get gas in other states. I think at the moment that Declan O’ Scanlon is asking to have the option of going to a full service or a self service line. This Declan O’Scanlon was the biggest opponent of the camera’s on red lights. I prefer full service myself, but I wouldn’t be opposed to having the choice.

      • Frank Rizzo

        It’s one foot at a time…then both feet..”studies show most people prefer to pump their own gas as per the retailer association and they are now asking to go self serve entirely” will be the next headline.

      • Brandy the Dog

        Most of NJ drivers prefer the full service stations, I don’t understand this push to change them.

      • califwino

        Let me throw this in…. they get pump your own and the price drops 5 to 8 cents a gallon and the next thing will be, gee the price is low, lets push the rise in the gas tax now.

  • CRITTERCOLLECTOR

    I LOVE not having to pump gas…..It will not make it any cheaper if we have to, so why start now??

    • Sathya Prabhakar

      A choice is better. There shouldn’t bee full serve alone. The self and full serve option should be available. 1138 people support me on this.

      • CRITTERCOLLECTOR

        Good for you!!! I prefer it my way….and there are probably more of us in NJ, than 1138 people that support me!!

      • Sathya Prabhakar

        Well, it’s a question of choice. There are many people that support me for choice. If you have full and self serve together, it would be better. Full serve alone makes it very inconvenient. Choice is better. More than 1138 people support me for choice. Even if self serve was added, you’d still have the choice of not wanting to pump your own gas. If the law is that you can’t pump your own gas, then it’s not fair. That means you have not choice. There are so many people who side with me. Even more than 1138. The law mustn’t stay the way it is. Even people who’d rather have someone pump it for them side with me. They say that a choice is good.

  • Beach N8iv

    Don’t worry, with Tubbo the Dancing Clown in office and our gelding legislature who will NEVER override the tyrant’s veto we will continue to wait for the kid on the cell with his girlfriend or the hostile foreigner to finally pull their finger out of their nose and come over to pump for us. In all the time I’ve spent in other states I have never had nor have I seen ANY problems with self-service.

  • califwino

    So let me ask of you who have been to other states and like to pump their own gas. Has that been in say upper NY state at 20 degrees and the wind blowing, or in a wind driven rain on your way to work so you spend the day in damp clothes. That would make it real fun huh. Maybe your wife or elderly parents out in these conditions because they “need gas”. No that’s right we will still have a full service pump that will cost about 25 cents more a gallon.
    Take a look at most of the stations in NJ. They are not set up for pump your own, 1 or 2 pumps at these station will create long lines so everyone go to Wawa with plenty of pumps.

    • Sathya Prabhakar

      You’re wrong! People need the self serve and full serve option. Full serve alone is no good!

  • sunray444

    Who wants to touch a filthy nozzle? God knows what is on them. To say the least of drunk or stoned idiots standing there pumping gas with cigarett butts hanging from their mouths while you watch with your kids in the car…. leave it alone. Those who can’t wait for gas, too bad. Move to the next station. We want to say clean and safe

    • Sathya Prabhakar

      You’re wrong. An option of self serve should be there. If you have a choice as to whether you want to pump your own gas or have someone do it for you, it would be better. It’s not good to have full serve alone. Even gas station employees support me on this.

  • Sathya Prabhakar

    NJ must allow self serve gas. There shouldn’t be full serve alone. People need options as to whether they want someone to pump their gas for them or do it themselves. Options is better than just one or the other. The way it is now is NO GOOD! SELF SERVE OPTION MUST BE ADDED. PEOPLE NEED OPTIONS. THERE SHOULDN’T BE FULL SERVE ALONE. A CHOICE IS BETTER!

  • Frank Rizzo

    So who,…plans to pump gas for the fellow in a wheelchair….Google wheelchair pumping gas and tell me is it worth all this just to save business owners money and not have any lower class jobs out there like these.

    • Sathya Prabhakar

      Frank, the law must change. It shouldn’t stay the way it is. I’m going after the legislators myself telling them that it needs to change. People need to have options. People can decide whether they want someone to fill it for them or do it themselves. There should be no ban on self serve. A choice is better. It’s not good to have full serve alone.