New Jersey is the only state in the country that doesn’t allow its drivers to pump their own gas, while Oregon has some restrictions.
That may end, however, with a new proposal to allow self-catering as an option as gas prices soar due to inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
filed in the New Jersey Legislature, A3105 – Dubbed the Motorists’ Fuel Choice and Comfort Act It is a bipartisan measure that gives residents the option to pump their own gas or continue on full service from a companion.
Sponsors of the bill include Assemblywoman Carol A. Murphy (D) of Burlington County.
After the introduction, members of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store, and Automobile Association (NJGCA), whose membership includes nearly 1,000 small business auto fuel retailers, came out to support the bill.
“The current law not allowing self-service is crippling my small business,” said Joe Ocello, NJGCA president and owner of the gas station. “When I started years ago, it was a great way to make a living, and a route to the American Dream. But rising prices and lack of labor makes running a gas station more and more difficult.”
The bill would allow gas stations to offer a self-service option, although stations with more than four dispensers would still be required to continue offering full service.
“I can guarantee that allowing the self-service option will save motorists, exercising their right of choice, money at the fuel pump,” said Kashmir Gill, an NJGCA member and owner of multiple locations in Central Jersey. “As a terminal owner, I know that the self-service option will bring my company significant cost savings that I can pass on to my customers.”
Congress passed a law in 1949 called the Retail Gasoline Drain Safety Act that banned self-service gas, citing safety concerns such as fire hazards. New Jersey is currently the only state to maintain the law and require a pumping gas station employee.
“I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep my gas stations open due to the lack of labor, which is greatly affecting my business,” said Levent Sertbas, NJGCA member and gas station owner. “There have been several cases where I had to shut down in the middle of the day because I couldn’t find staff to operate the gas pumps.”
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