If you’ve ever driven through New Jersey or Oregon and stopped for gas, you probably noticed that you weren’t able to get out and pump your own. Instead, a fuel station attendant did it for you. Have you ever wondered why these two states are the only ones that don’t let you pump your own gas?
Well, long ago, all fuel stations used to be full-service. The first self-service station opened in 1947 in California and many states caught onto the idea after that. (By the 1970s, nearly every state had self-service gas stations.)
In 1949, however, the state of New Jersey decided they were going to keep things the old way and passed the Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act. This law prohibited self-service gas pumps because of the fire hazards associated with pumping fuel. Instead, “Class 1 flammable liquids” would be handled by a professional to ensure that it’s done correctly.
In 1951, a similar law was passed in Oregon to keep fuel stations full-service, however in 2001, the law was tweaked and motorcyclists are allowed to pump their own gas. While both New Jersey’s and Oregon’s decision to take fire precautions were understandable back then, pumping fuel is a lot safer today (both because of the way it’s pumped and the fuel itself), which means many residents in these states think it’s time for a change – especially when you could face up to a $500 fine in Oregon for pumping your own gas.
What do you think about these laws? Should New Jersey and Oregon join the rest of the country?