Oregon lifts ban on drivers pumping their own gas

Drivers in Oregon can now do something that’s been prohibited in their state for more than seven decades — pump their own gas. 

Gov. Tina Kotek (D) signed HB 2426 on Friday, which “authorizes self-service dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids,” referring to gasoline, at stations across the state. However, while drivers may be excited to get their own hands on a gas pump, the law does come with a number of caveats. Gas stations will still be required to have more full-service stations than ones drivers may use themselves. 

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Also, gas stations “are not required to offer self-service,” but may do so if they choose, KGW8-TV reported. The language of HB 2426 “makes it clear that self-service is a choice available to gas stations, not a requirement.” Drivers still don’t have a right to pump gas at a pump that is designated for full service. 

Oregon had prohibited drivers from pumping their own gas since 1951. That year, a public statute was passed over safety concerns, noting that the use of gas station attendants “reduces fire hazards directly associated with the dispensing of Class 1 flammable liquids.” The statute added that “exposure to toxic fumes represents a health hazard to customers.”

However, the labor shortage of the Covid-19 pandemic made it harder for gas stations to hire attendants, forcing Oregon to reevaluate the law. New Jersey is now the sole state in the nation that doesn’t let drivers pump their own gas.

It seems, though, that not all Oregonians are on board with the change. “It’s kind of nice to have someone do that,” Oregon resident Kacy Willson told The Associated Press. “I don’t really leave Oregon very much, and when I do, I have to ask someone how to pump gas, and I feel weird.”

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