Make New Jersey Residents Pump Their Own Gas


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Randle DeGraaf, Staff Writer

Moving out of state can be an eye-opening experience for many, especially those who have traveled very little growing up. Although connected to 48 other states within our beautiful Republic, New Jersey differs in many ways from the rest of the country.

As someone who has had the opportunity to travel to more than half the states around the country, this can become frustrating in many ways, especially when having to return to New Jersey.

Laws in New Jersey are especially restrictive, and in many ways, archaic, and no law speaks more true to this than the restriction we have on pumping our own gas.

New Jersey is one of only two states within the United States to have legislation forbidding citizens from pumping their own gas (Oregon, the other state, passed recent legislation allowing gas stations to be self-serving in some counties).

So, one may ask, “Why should we allow our gas stations to be self-serve?” There are many reasons.

First and foremost, pumping your own gas is more convenient. I can’t recall the number of times I’ve pulled into a gas station to fill up and had to wait more than 20-plus minutes for the attendant to dispense the gas and then return the nozzle. By pumping your own gas, you save time.

Secondly, allowing citizens to pump their own gas will eliminate the need for an attendant, therefore allowing gas stations to be open 24/7. It can be frustrating passing dozens of closed gas stations when you’re coming home late at night and need a fill-up. This can be especially worrisome in some less densely-populated counties, where the nearest gas station can be 10 miles down the road.

By allowing gas stations to be self-serving, they can benefit from late night fuel sales, and commuters will never need to worry about their tanks going dry.

Lastly, the legislation forbidding fuel to be pumped is outdated. The Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act and Regulations of 1949 was passed because a single gas station owner offered to charge customers less to pump their own gas. Many businesses followed suit, and the rival gas station owners who were not self-serving were able to convince legislators to make self-serve gasoline illegal.

After two oil crises in the 1970s, full-service gas stations closed nationwide due to the high cost of maintaining staff. New Jersey and Oregon were the only states to keep previous legislation prohibiting self-serving stations.

Pumping your own fuel for those who have not done it is simple and really not as bad as New Jersey residents make it seem. The state of New Jersey is already looked down upon to begin with. By removing the legislation, we can show the rest of the country we aren’t “too naive to pump our own gas.”