Oregon drivers can now fill their own tanks for the first time since more than 70 years.
Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek, Democratic Governor, signed a law on Friday that allows drivers to choose whether they want to pump their own gas or have an attendant do it for them.
New Jersey is the only state to ban self-service gas pumps. Stations in Oregon are still not allowed to have any more self-service pumps compared to full service stations.
Safety concerns were a major factor in the state’s ban on self service pumps. In a state law , was cited as “the increased risk of crime” and “the increased risk of personal injuries resulting from slippage on slick surfaces.”
This summer, the state Legislature passed the self-service law and sent it to the Governor’s desk. The bill was passed by the state Senate in June, 16-9. This came three months after the House had passed it 47-10.
In a speech delivered in June, State Senator Lew Frederick, a Democrat opposed to the legislation, stated that this would make it harder for elderly people to receive assistance in pumping gasoline and could lead to the loss of jobs.
Frederick said, “I’ve had to personally pump gas for older folks in other States who I saw were not able get the assistance to which they were legally entitled.” “Oregon is a state that flies on its own wings. I’m not convinced we should do the same thing just because other states are doing it.
Oregon made exceptions for the ban in some rural areas. The restrictions are lifted statewide following Friday’s signing of the bill.
Mike Freese of the Oregon Fuels Association testified to a legislative panel earlier this year, in support for lifting the ban. He told them that lack of employees had made it difficult to keep certain stations open.
Freese, a legislator at the time, said that it was no secret that Oregon had unique laws regarding gas fueling. Gas station owners have told me that it is difficult to find employees to pump the gas. In some cases, this can be impossible. This makes it impossible for gas stations to remain open.
New Jersey, the only state to not permit self-service pumps, is now the only one that has a law similar to the Oregon law. The ban on self-service pumps dates back to 1949.