New Law in Oregon Could Finally Make It Legal to Pump Your Gas
Oregon is currently working to end a 71-year-old law that makes filling up your tank illegal at most gas stations. Ever since the 1950s, filling up in Oregon has been a chore for most drivers. Unlike other states, Oregon requires an attendant to pump gas into your car, and if you decide to disobey this law and pump the gas yourself, you could be looking at a fine of up to $500.
So, how did this law come about? What are the main reasons for striking down this decades-long practice? Here is everything you need to know about the Oregon gas pumping law and what it means for drivers in this pacific northwest state.
What is the Oregon gas pumping law?
Of course, this law was not all that radical back in the 1950s. It was commonplace to see many gas stations fully serviced by attendants at the time. According to CNN Business, self-service pumps like we have today in other states were only commonplace during the 1980s. At an attendant-run gas pump, attendants would check your oil, wipe your windshields, and check your tire pressure if needed. It was a luxury for drivers to have their cars filled and serviced without leaving their vehicles.
OPB explains that banning self-service gas stations in Oregon created jobs, helped with fire safety, cut down on fuel spills and slick surfaces, aided in insurance rates for oil companies, and allowed drivers to stay in their cars with their children. However, this law has become a chore for just about every Oregon resident and visitor in recent years.
What is so bad about the Oregon gas pumping law?
The current labor market is challenging for many Americans. Simply put, there are not enough people to pump gas at gas stations. Due to this Oregon law, a gas station is not allowed to run if attendants aren’t available. Drivers have also noticed that if there is only one attendant on duty for a bustling gas station, drivers are stuck waiting in their vehicles for an attendant to put a gas pump in their car.
If you have a classic or unconventionally fueled car, like a vintage Mustang or Corvette, which has a gas filler neck in the back of the vehicle, you also have to put a ton of trust in an attendant to not damage your vintage fueling system. And, if you’d rather fuel your car, you could face that $500 fine. With modern gas pumps identical around the country, drivers throughout Oregon also feel silly watching an attendant do a job they could easily do themselves.
Will the state finally allow self-serve fueling stations?
According to the New York Times, Oregon now just needs Governor Tina Kotek to sign the bill, and Oregon drivers will finally be allowed to pump their gas statewide. Governor Kotek has 30 days to sign House Bill 2426. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, she’s expected to sign it through.
The reality is, this bill is a tough one for the state of Oregon. Issues with the labor market and finding willing attendants to run gas stations have been rough, and striking down this old law would be a breath of fresh air for every driver in Oregon. However, many are worried that this bill could lead to workers in other industries losing their government protections as well.