Will NJ Drivers Pump Their Own Gas?
NJ and Oregon are still the only two states in the Union that ban drivers from pumping their own gas. Oregon has put a little loophole in their law, allowing people to pump for themselves at stand-alone gas stations in counties with fewer than 40,000 residents, leaving NJ as the only state where no one at all is allowed to pump gas.
State Senator Declan O’Scanlon released a statement saying that with Governor Murphy raising the minimum wage to $15, many gas stations will be unable to pay their employees, leading to self-serve coming to the Garden State.
New Jersey is basically famous for not wanting to pump our own gas. In fact, I’ve previously received phone calls making sure to let me know that ‘Jersey Girls Don’t Pump Gas’! Well, we better be prepared to start pumping our own gas soon because one of the industries that is bracing for massive losses is our fuel merchants. Local gas station owners testified before us that they cannot sustain employees and keep their businesses open without bringing in self-serve gas.
O'Scanlon introduced a bill in 2015 that would have lifted the ban on self-service, but it wasn't passed.
The ban on self-service started in 1949, after the Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act and Regulations were passed. Under the guise of public safety, there is a backstory that involves the thing politicians value above their constituents: money.
According to MentalFloss, in the 1940s a gas station owner named Irving Reingold offered lower prices to customers willing to pump their own gas. The gimmick made his station incredibly popular, which angered rival stations, who took their case to the state legislature. Even though other states switched to self-serve, NJ hasn't budged.
I'll admit that the first time I drove out of state and needed gas, it caught me off-guard. But c'mon people, it's not difficult. This isn't a new "skill" that you need to learn, you don't have to study a manual, you don't need to look up a how-to video on YouTube. It's just pumping gas, man, put the nozzle in your tank and pull the trigger and don't pull a Zoolander.
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