By on January 3, 2018

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I’m old enough to remember when self-serve gasoline stations were an innovation. That was some time after filling station attendants stopped washing your windshield and checking your oil, or even giving you a free set of steak knives  or glass tumblers with a fill-up along with actually pumping your fuel. Age perhaps makes my memory imprecise, but I believe the change from full-service to self-service happened sometime after OPEC started jacking up the price of petroleum.

Since it was a way of saving a few pennies a gallon as fuel costs were increasing, self-serve was so popular that it spread across the fruited plains to the point where in many places in America today you can’t find anyone to pump your gas, let alone provide what used to be considered full service. Self-serve was embraced at the gas pump and it has pullulated to other retail establishments. I can’t remember the last time I went through a checkout lane with an actual human cashier when buying groceries, much as it annoys me to have a machine say “Thank you for shopping at Meijer.”

We now live in a self-serve world. Well, except for New Jersey and Oregon. Until now, both of those states have prohibited self-serve gasoline stations, but it looks like starting this year New Jersey will have that distinction all to itself.Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed legislation last year that said that starting Jan. 1, 2018, owners of gas stations in rural counties with small populations will have the option of letting customers pump their fuel themselves. Farmers are experienced at pumping their own diesel fuel for tractors and other agricultural equipment, so introducing the practice in rural areas makes sense.

For the time being, because many of those rural gas stations have never installed gas pumps that can accept credit card payments, it will be a while before Oregon drivers can pull up, pay at the pump, fill their tank, and drive away. Also, it’s not clear how much demand there will be for less service. Media reports in Oregon seem to indicate that consumers there, even in rural areas, don’t want to pump their own gas.

I can understand some consumers’ reluctance to embrace what they think may be a reduction of service. I can even understand how some might be afraid of the safety hazards of letting regular folks handle a highly flammable liquid like gasoline. There are indeed people who will use an open flame around a gas pump despite all of the warning labels.

However, the reaction of some Oregonians makes me fear for the future of society. We already have a television star as president; I’m not sure if I’m ready for a true Idiocracy.

Maybe I expect too much from a society where advertisers make women feel smart for not knowing how to change a tire, but just look at the comments above in response to a local TV station’s Facebook posting about the new law.

“I don’t even know how to pump gas and I’m 62.”

Someone who is 62 years old has presumably been driving for at least 40 years and in all that time, through scores of fill-ups, they’ve never picked up on how to unscrew their gas cap, grab the nozzle handle, put it in the filler neck, and squeeze the trigger? Then there’s the drama queen (or king, I don’t want to presume xir’s gendyr) who claims to have “almost died” when having to pump his own gasoline once when in California. A horror of apocalyptic magnitude, no doubt. I’m no huffer but I worked in a paint laboratory for 20 years and while there are health hazards associated with long term exposure to solvents, a few whifs of VOCs aren’t going to hurt anyone with normal sensitivities to solvents.

Besides, nobody is going to force anyone in Oregon to pump their own gas, whether or not they “literally,” or figuratively, park at the gas pumps in protest (raising the question of how the gas station attendants will know the difference between someone parking in protest and anyone else simply pulling up to a pump and putting it in park). The law allows station operators to offer self-service, it doesn’t compel the practice.

Just to show you what used to be considered full service in the service station industry, the gallery contains a 1944 vintage trade brochure distributed to service stations that gave them tips on how to maximize profit by providing complete service “within practical limits.”

[Images: Shell Oil, Gulf Oil, author]

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107 Comments on “‘Pump My Own Gas?… I Can’t Even’...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    In before the EV owners show up to brag about not having to pump their own fuel.

  • avatar
    BrentinWA

    I happened upon this on facebook via one of the groups I follow… the comments are indeed hilarious. It’s amazing how the average Oregonian’s mind works, or doesn’t work, as the case appears to be. Living in Washington, I try to avoid getting gas in Oregon when we drive to Boise to visit some family there. I don’t like giving some low level employee my Platinum AMEX so that I can get gas and he can take a picture of my account number.

    • 0 avatar
      maxxcool7421

      /facepalm/ Your account data is stolen multiple times per year and AMEX/VISA doesn’t tell you.

    • 0 avatar
      srh

      This is the same reason I never go to restaurants or hotels. Those low level employees might take a picture of my Black Centurion Edition Metal AMEX. I only use it online where nothing could go wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        pinkslip

        “This is the same reason I never go to restaurants or hotels. Those low level employees might take a picture of my Black Centurion Edition Metal AMEX. I only use it online where nothing could go wrong.”

        I love this comment.

        The idea of a gas station employee letting fuel drip on my paint is a much larger concern to me than one more opportunity for someone to photograph my credit card.

        To expand on this: In Europe, restaurants (etc) don’t walk away with your card to run it at a POS station; they bring a card reader to you and run the card right in front of you. They are baffled as to why we still allow strangers to walk away with our cards. But having one more person walk away with your card-
        when this happens at almost every sit-down restaurant in the US, and we use credit cards to complete online transactions all the time- is a silly reason to not want full-service stations.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Having grown up most of my young adult life in Oregon, I can tell you that many are happy to see this. Every friend I have is happy for this change. Not even a single facebook friend of mine cares to even make a post on this.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    The KTVL comments are rich. I got a lot of good laughs from reading those the other day.

    Practically all of them are satire, the over the top comments anyway. What do you really think happens when a Beaver travels outside the state?

  • avatar
    scott25

    I didn’t even know this was still a thing, guess I’ve never stopped for gas in NJ on my travels there. Definitely makes me rethink my desire to go to Oregon. I thought the typical American way of making you go inside to pay cash before you pump was archaic enough, not even allowing self service is ridiculous. Canadian gas station franchisees at least trust their customers to not drive away without paying.

    I think I’ve ended up at a full serve station twice in the ten years I’ve been driving. That said, not many grocery stores in my part of Ontario have fully embraced self-checkouts, everything I do besides getting gas involves human interaction, but with the minimum wage increases that will change soon no doubt.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      You know, I have been to at least one gas station that had a machine outside that let you pay *cash* at the pump. Well, it was in between two pumps on an island. You selected your pump number, inserted how ever many bills you wanted, it accepted then like a vending machine and the total showed up on the screen. When you had inserted all you wanted, you hit done and you were set.

      I don’t remember if it dispensed change, but I don’t think so, I think you had to go inside for change. Anyway, I’m sure most gas stations would refuse such a service since you’re less likely to come in and buy other items.

      What really irritated me is one station (located around where I live now) that also sold food and discount tobacco. But they had ONE register! It was a busy place and it took me 15 minutes of waiting in line before I could throw $20 on pump 5. It was very frustrating and I avoid that station now because of it.

      I can just imagine if it was not a self-serve station, they’d have one over-worked teenager trying to run all 20 pumps at the same time.

      • 0 avatar

        When I lived in Maine back in the late 90’s there was one gas station that had a machine that took cash like a vending machine. Never seen it since and I think they removed it from that one station after a year or so.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The majority of Arco stations in the PNW have had bill acceptors on the pump islands for near 30 years.

        Back in the day all the gas companies owned service station properties by the thousands, however they leased them to operators. So the company owned the property, building and equipment. When they started installing the machines in the islands to accept cash and debit cards there were those operators who refused to turn them on. The fear of course is that while it might make for a few more gallons of gas sold it would stop those people from buying a candy bar, cup of coffee, gallon of milk, six pack or pack of cigarettes, sales of which would put more profit in their pocket than someone buying an average sized tank of gas.

        At the time I was a sales rep who called on C-stores so I heard an earful from a couple of operators, how Arco was trying to screw them by installing the pay at the island machines. I also recall a sales meeting where the district manager called out one of the other reps who had a habit of buying $5 worth of gas at multiple stores as good will to the owner. I told him to just buy the baseball cards for his kids or a pack of gum as that would mean much more profit than $5 worth of gas.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I think it was an ARCO station. But, I use 76 when I’m up that way now. It costs a little more, but my vehicles all seem to get better mileage with it than with ARCO.

          Nothing could be worse than the Valero gas I bought in Northern California. My car ran through it very quickly and the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light came on. Next tank, filled it up with 76. SES light went off, got more than twice the miles out of that tank.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      The end of being able to pay after you’ve finished pumping gas is a sign that we’re in a moral decline as a nation. What’s puzzling is that they don’t remove those stickers warning you that driving off without paying can result in a license suspension. What’s the point of that, if you can’t pump without paying first?

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Lol I have seen that. With cameras and such so prolific now a days, its a wonder why you must pre-pay. You got my picture, the make/model/color/tag on what I’m driving, so how am I supposed to get away with it? LOL

        I guess its so people don’t pump $25 worth and come in and say oh I only have a $20.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Alberta has a pre-pay gas law, and Husky stations in Ontario are prepay too. Often pumps closest to the road are prepay at many stations in Ontario.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      I commuted from PA to northern NJ for 13 years and bought most of my gas in NJ as it was cheaper. I found that the full service there was usually much slower than the self service in PA because there were usually only one or two attendants and fewer pumps per station.
      What amused me was the practice of offering a discount for paying cash. This was usually $0.10 per gallon or more. This practice was universal at the stations along my route. Only Wawa featured the same cash or credit card price. I always thought that dealing in cash was more of a way for the station owners to cut their tax bills in addition to avoiding credit card fees.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I love those old-timey images, fun to read. That businessman looking guy looks unsure about the need for an oil filter for his fine bias-ply clad automobile.

    During the time I knew my grandmother, I don’t think she ever filled up at a self serve gas station. She always went to the Co-Op (later UPI) station, which was full serve and had the person there do it.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      One of the great jokes in the first Back to the Future films was a car pulling into a service station and several uniformed workers streamed out to handle gassing up the car. I wonder how well that gag plays today to a populace that has never experienced any kind of service at a gas station?

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Ha the people would lock themselves in the car and call 911:

        “911, what’s your emergency?”

        “Several men, all dressed alike, are trying to take apart my car! With me inside! Help!”

  • avatar
    carve

    I’m a native Oregonian, although now I just go back to visit. I can’t STAND how long it takes to fill the tank there. Often, all the slots are full of people just sitting in their cars, half of which haven’t had the guy come by to pump yet. Then you get a slot, and YOU get to be the guy sitting around waiting. At least it makes it cost a few more cents per gallon!

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Amen. I hated it when I lived there as well. So inconvenient, although most would think the opposite. I thought so many times “if I could just pump my own, I’d be done and gone by now”.

    • 0 avatar
      volvo

      You should try a Costco gas station in Oregon if you want the full waiting experience.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      I have mixed feelings. It’s really nice to stay in the car during our wet, miserable winters…and not getting the gas smell on me is a plus. But yeah, when it’s busy it’s kind of a pain to have to wait, although it’s not like a couple minutes is going to kill me.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        Russcle, some manufacturers (Ford is the big one) have moved to capless fuel doors. That nearly eliminates the smell left on you. I thought it odd at first. Now I love it.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        If you’re getting gas smell on you, you’re doing it all wrong.

        Better if you just stay home altogether, if you can’t figure out how to pump gas.

      • 0 avatar
        carve

        Why do you guys think you’ll get gas smell on you? Are you filling your tank like Zoolander?

        Even when you’re done, you have to wait for the greasemoneky to come replace the cap and nozzle.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    LMAO at those self-entitled people “OMG I almost DIED!”

    What happened when mommy quit tying your shoes and left it up to you to do it? Did you ALMOST DIE? Or did you “literally” sit there and wait for someone to come along and do it?

    I’d LOL if someone pulled up to my self-service gas station and waited for someone to pump gas for them. I’d go make fun of them until they left, or threaten to have their car towed if they didn’t get the idea quick enough. “You’re a big boy/girl, c’mon now, you can do it! I believe in you! Awww, are you afraid of the big bad gas pump?”

    I don’t miss living Oregon. No, not everyone was like these people, but enough were.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Nearly every one of my high school friends, including myself, worked for a family that had 3 Gulf stations. When I started they had us wear Gulf branded running shoes and hats. The full-time staff also had Gulf uniforms with ties. Perhaps the very last uniform of its kind.

    A benefit of a ‘full’ serve station was that we would clean the windshield, check tire pressure, fluid and motor oil levels. We even got a small commission on oil sales.

    And of course allowed us to learn how to perform or practice at least basic vehicle maintenance in the bays as we progressed from oil and filter changes to tire repairs, tire swaps, sparkplug replacement, and adjusting timing, in between pumping gas. Any brake repairs had to be reviewed, inspected and signed off by a licensed mechanic.

    Ronnie is correct in that self-serve stations started to emerge in large numbers in conjunction with the original OPEC crisis.

    There are zero ‘they serve’ stations left in our geographic area. Luckily one did exist while our children were still young. Allowing my wife to get her vehicle fueled while she could remain in the car/van and watch the kids. On the few occasions that I did not fuel it for her.

    As for self-serve checkouts, in Ontario Home Depot has had some for a few years and Metro has recently introduced some, but during my lifetime I have yet to use one and hope to never do so in a retail environment.

    • 0 avatar

      Here in New England there are still a few stations with a full serivce lane but not many.
      On the self service kiosks at reatil Home Depot and Lowes have them but of the 4 major Grocery retailers in my area only one has self checkout kiosks the others experimented with them but pulled them out after a few years.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Arthur Dailey – there aren’t any full serve stations in my town anymore. The Mohawk station was the last one with full serve.

      I personally hate retail self serve checkouts. I don’t mind bagging my own groceries because the places that still bag often have staff that don’t give a sh!t about stacking cans on your fresh produce.

      The comment about rural people having more experience with pumping fuel is interesting. In BC our environmental regulations stipulate that for commercial/farm use one must pump fuel with an “electric” pump with automatic shut off (like standard gas stations) to reduce the risk of spills. The rules are also strict in relation to fuel tanks.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Air for your tires is now a $1 charge at all my local gas stations….

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Perfect examples of Poe’s Law.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The HORROR!

    I wonder how many of them mow their own grass? I assume that involved going to the filling station to get their 1 to 5 gallon can filled and then actually having to pour gasoline into their own push mower/garden tractor.

  • avatar
    bbkkrr

    I want to recognize the use of the word “pullulated”. I also can’t even.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      “Go forth and multiply.”
      They did, and did it again and again and again.
      They pullulated. (Reproduced until the species became very common. Cities are pullulated since they have a very high concentration of population.)

  • avatar
    hamish42

    It started here in Ontario somewhere around 1970, when I had my little Datsun 1200. I can’t imagine what all the fuss is about?

  • avatar
    danapellerin

    I remember the first time I went to Oregon on my motorcycle. I pulled into a station, oblivious to the “rules”, grabbed the nozzle, stuck it in my tank and pulled out my credit card. The guy came rushing over in a panic. “you can pump your own gas because you’re on a motorcycle, but I need to setup the pump” he says. So I give him my card, he swipes it, hits the premium button and hands my card back.

    Wow, thanks for that pal. I don’t know how we “nanny state” Californians have survived. LOL.

    • 0 avatar
      srh

      One of the annoying things about Oregon is, when the station gets busy, you might have to wait several minutes before someone comes to start pumping your gas.

      On more than one occasion I’ve gotten impatient and just pumped my own gas. The attendants usually don’t really care.

      One time I’m doing this and the attendant, a dude in his early 20s, comes up casually and is like, “Hey bud, how’s it going?”. I respond that I’m fine, it’s a beautiful day isn’t it, etc.. etc… He asks what I do for a living? I respond, oh, I’m a computer engineer, work at the big .com down the road. I think we’re having a nice conversation. “Oh really, that’s great. So would it be OK if I show up there and do your f*cking job?”

      Then he walks away. Hmm.

      • 0 avatar
        pinkslip

        “Oh really, that’s great. So would it be OK if I show up there and do your f*cking job?”

        Response: If my job was as useless, simple to do, and time-wasting as yours, I wouldn’t have anything to say if someone came along and started doing it faster and for free, now would I?

      • 0 avatar
        carve

        How did you not say “If you could do my job, you wouldn’t be pumping gas, would you?”

        The irony is his job is value-diminished for you, as you actually have to pay to have him waste your time.

  • avatar
    brettc

    That does it, I’m renaming my garage to “the Lubritorium”.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    This is the typical response to stories like this. The press finds some goof who gives them a quote and then some nutjobs start posting on social media and suddenly a whole group of people are indicted for what those people are upset about.
    99.95% of Oregonians(?) I’m sure have no issues with this change. I guess I could be wrong, but it seems too easy to make this into a story of how people today can’t handle the same things that people of the past could.

    Also “hail or high water?” Is that was it really is? I mean, it makes sense. More sense than Hell or high water, but that’s the only way I thought I’ve heard it.

    A lot of times Japan is like 1950s America. The gas station attendants are a reminder of that.

  • avatar
    srh

    Oh give me a break. You know full well that the quoted facebook posts are jokes, which makes this entire article a troll.

    That said, I’d guess the people I interact with here in Oregon are roughly 50/50 on the question of pumping their own gas. Obviously virtually everybody has driven out of state and is well able to pump their own gas.

    Despite living here for 20 years I personally still loathe the restriction. This in fact contributed to 15 years of diesel truck ownership: you are allowed to pump your own diesel. When I travel out of state I generally wait until I’m over the border before filling up.

    The humor of the situation was most stark when I had just moved to Oregon back in 1997. I was just getting used to this quirk and asked a couple people about why it was required. Lots of mumbling about safety requirements, etc… Imagine my reaction, then, when I observed one of the paid gas station attendants lighting up a cigarette while on his break, not 10 feet from the pumps.

    • 0 avatar
      No Nickname Required

      There is a full service station in a small town near my parents’ place. I’ve bought fuel there a few times. The old man who owns the place comes out with a lighted cigarette in his hand, grabs the nozzle and starts pumping gas. He’s done it for 30 years and hasn’t been blown up yet. I still shake my head whenever I think about it.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I pumped gas for a living as my first job, ca. 1980-82, at a Gulf station.

    We checked oil and coolant, cleaned windows, and inflated tires, but left the repairs to the mechanics in the garage (although I did adjust a few mixture screws). It was a minimum wage job that encouraged me to get an education beyond high school.

    Gas was $1.40/gal ($3.40 today), and the GM X-bodies (Citation) were new. We still sold leaded gas, although it was phasing out by then.

    I remember fearing certain cars due to terrible filler neck designs that didn’t retain the filler nozzle securely, or didn’t fill quickly. Some customers would blame you for every scratch on their car. Credit cards were run with double-copy carbon paper (fun in the rain and snow). Low prices meant we would be swamped with customers waiting in line, all of whom demanded underhood checks.

    You can keep it all. Self-serve is a much better way to go.

    Ronnie: Self-serve gas also correlates with much longer maintenance cycles on vehicles, and the advent of improvements like electronic fuel injection and TPMS. Cars just don’t need as much hands-on attention like they used to. The notion of checking oil and tires on every fillup is absurd today.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Where were you that gas was $1.40 in 1980? I was paying $0.89 in the mid-90’s.

      • 0 avatar
        xtoyota

        Now that you can pump your own gas and no attendant needed…….Will the price per gallon go down in Oregon :=)
        I’ll bet NOT :=(

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        @TMA1:”Where were you that gas was $1.40 in 1980? I was paying $0.89 in the mid-90’s…”

        Pretty much everywhere. I had a turbo Fox body that took premium. I can remember being thrilled when I found it for $1.15 at some BFE gas station one day.

        By the mid 80’s gas prices had already come down, in the mid 90’s gas was at historical lows. Those golden days had not been seen since the 1950’s!

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        That’s about how much it was here in DFW in 1980; $1.30 to $1.40. I was driving a ’78 Audi Fox then, and it met the 1978 emissions standard without a catalyst (due to the fuel injection). I was alternating between leaded regular and leaded premium. After that I had a ’68 Bonneville, and I could only run leaded premium in it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Some customers would blame you for every scratch on their car.”

      Paint chips around the filler cap/door is/was a common issue. My F250 with dual tanks had a few chips that were not from me.

      I doubt that the problem went away when people started pumping their own gas. Most people don’t pay much attention. My favourite is seeing a car trailing a seat belt out the side and beating on the body as they drive. It is often loud enough that I can hear in my own vehicle with the windows up.

      • 0 avatar
        pinkslip

        “Paint chips around the filler cap/door is/was a common issue. My F250 with dual tanks had a few chips that were not from me.

        I doubt that the problem went away when people started pumping their own gas. Most people don’t pay much attention.”

        My anecdotal info collected from interviewing my social circle suggests that men are much more attentive to avoiding damage to the car than women are. I think this is partly due to men typically being more into cars, but even the non-“car guys” were more on top of it than the women with nicer cars.

        The women I speak to, for example, never tap the nozzle in the fuel filler neck to remove the last drips of fuel before returning the nozzle to the pump, but almost every guy I know does this. I suspect this is due to the anatomical differences in how we go pee. One guy in one of the conversations on this topic (it’s a fun ice breaker of sorts for me, apparently) said he doesn’t do the drip shake. I assume he also get a little pee on his undies- :-/ . However no woman has admitted to dabbing the nozzle or car with a paper towel after filling the tank, so…

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    In my first attempt at college I worked 3rd shift at a gas station in IL. During my brief training period, an old lady pulled up and demanded that somebody pump her gas for her because the law required it.

    My trainer looked at me and asked, “Oregon or New Jersey?”

  • avatar
    maxxcool7421

    well it is only for counties with less than 40k residents.. so almost all the state is as still mandated full service.

    which is sad for me, If i could run e40 with my meth kit I would have 625ft pounds of TQ for my tuned SHO and just barley break into the 11’s

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Seems pretty simple. Continue to offer the service in a dedicated lane with prices a few cents higher for those that insist on it. Make the rest self serve as demand requires. Let the people decide if the few cents a gallon is worth it. In most of the country, people would prefer the savings. In both money and time.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      That seems to be a common setup in some states. It drives me crazy when I accidentally go into the full service line and am forced to pay more for slower service.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    My wife showed me this last night. My first thought was no way any of these people are real. Then I remembered we’re talking about Portland. So who knows?

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    My family takes our trailer to the Oregon Coast every other year or so. I absolutely hate getting gas there. It takes forever, it’s expensive, it’s awkward… the list goes on. Driving through Oregon was one of the main reasons my dad installed a titan fuel tank on his truck so he doesn’t have to get fuel in the gorge or Sisters.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Expensive? I travel to California and Washington fairly often, Oregon’s full-service gas is usually cheaper than their self-serve. Sisters being in the mountains and a long way from anywhere…sure it’s expensive.

      • 0 avatar
        PandaBear

        Well, what is the average income and home price vs gas in California, and what is it for Oregon?

        The full service law in Oregon is nothing but a job program.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Am I the only one here to experience this in both, Oregon and New Jersey? Biggest inconvenience!

    I remember when they just started in NJ. Dudes were washing your windshields and headlights automatically. They also offered other things. Today, you come, they take your card fill up and bye.

    One problem with these guys, especially on NJ Turnpike, is that they would click that thing until gas comes out from the fuel tank. You have to tell them upfront, “to one click”. Problem is, I saw a lot of some illegals doing this. They barely speak English but they are not Mexicans. May we some on working visa? While ago I stopped driving NJTP and started go on parallel roads. There, people don’t click a lot and often are just local guys. And you can fill Top tier instead of Sanoco junk on NJTP. Although, prices these days nothing like before. NJ used to be worth just to go for fill up .

    And one more thing – I despise these freaking people, like, “oh, I don’t know how…”

  • avatar
    mrentropy

    When I moved from New Jersey (ha!) to Texas in a ’97 Pontiac Trans-Am, I stopped at a gas station in Oklahoma, I think. I was all kinds of surprised to see a team of guys run out of the service station and start pumping gas, checking tire pressures, and checking fluid levels. They were all dressed in old-timey service station uniforms complete with caps.

    It was like going back in time, and quite a bit of fun. I’m not sure I’d want to go through that every time I got gas, though.

  • avatar
    Kenn

    Growing up in Detroit in the ’60s, I still remember how common it was to see cars with faded paint below the filler doors from the repeated spilling of gasoline by sloppy attendants (usually teen boys). I was thankful when finally given the option of self-service (1970?) and up till now, when traveling through Oregon, have stood immediately to the side of attendants from start to finish, ready to pounce.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Do the folks of Oregon get a break on pricing if they pump their own?

    If not, (I didn’t see it covered in the OP) I wouldn’t pump my own either.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I wonder, too. I remember that when stations here in Texas offered both self- and full-service, full-service was usually about five cents more per gallon.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    When self service first became a thing here in Texas, many stations had both self service and full service lanes, the full service lanes mainly used by elderly customers that couldn’t or didn’t want to pump their own gas. It’s pretty rare to find a place here now that offers full service, since “service stations” are almost extinct. My mom passed away in 2012 at 93, and I don’t think she ever pumped her own. She found a station a few miles from her house that still had one guy that would pump gas for folks, and she just went to that one place. Other times, I would take her car to a nearby station and fill it up for her.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    I’ve never had someone pump my gas. Ever. In fact, my dad allowed me to pump his gas when I was 3 or 4 because I thought it fun.

    One time, while in Portland, I needed gas, and it wasn’t self serve, so I drove over the bridge to get gas. It was 35 cents cheaper too.

    I never had a pizza delivered either.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    I just like the last panel that refers to cleaning out the lubritorium.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I went to KTVL in Medford’s FB page, and now every post includes commenters making self-service jokes. Like the comment on a news story about a car vs. motorcycle crash:

    “Extreme case of road rage! Statistics show this is caused by and ONLY caused by having to pump your own gas. #PrayForOregon”

    https://www.facebook.com/KTVLNews10/

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    The clean-shaven, green hat clad Texaco Man was gone before I started driving. He morphed into something that resembled Emmitt Kelley Jr., replete with the ubiquitous shop rag, a cigarette, and a tooth. I really didn’t want these guys touching my car but 10,000 green stamps would earn me a new Zippo lighter, so I threw caution to the wind.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Glad to hear this. I try to avoid filling up in Oregon because the attendant invariably bashes the nozzle against the quarter panel or the filler door or spills fuel when removing the nozzle. If I fill up myself I can do it carefully.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Exactly. And checking tire pressure on hot tires or oil level in a car that has just been shut down 30 seconds ago is not going to give you an accurate reading, either.

      Full-service never made any sense to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryannosaurus

      This. When I lived in Oregon getting gas drove me nuts. The attendants would click the nozzle a few times trying to get the price up to an even amount, overfilling the tank and spilling down the side. Now when I visit I use my fleet card and get gas at the CFN stations.

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    The only time I’ve been to Oregon has been on a motorcycle; and having to struggle with dull-normal minimum-wage pump-jockeys about filling up the tank, how to do it without slopping gas over it or without the auto-stop clicking off with the tank only half full…is not something I enjoyed.

    This is an archaic, Stone-Age, Luddite-minded law – trying to stop progress by legislating jobs that serve absolutely no purpose. And as thousands of former railroad brakemen can tell you, it doesn’t work and it creates more chaos when, belatedly, the law finally changes to acknowledge the undeniable.

  • avatar
    chris724

    Full service laws like NJ still has, are literally the stupidest thing in the entire universe.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Screw it..get outta the car and start pumping!

    I’ve got ten minutes to get this rent-a-Yugo back so I can catch my flight..buzz off!

    (Of course, I’d be smart enough to refill the car more than two miles from the airport!)

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Ding ding! Ding ding! Guess that the sound of a car running over the cord/cable that ran perpendicular to the gas pumps, is something that most of the B&B either have never heard or have forgotten?

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    It’s pretty ridiculous that this law didn’t just die off completely. If this is their idea of “creating jobs” it’s a laughable attempt. A couple thousand minimum wagers will not stimulate the state economy in any remarkable way.

    If it’s for safety reasons, just back off and go away. There’s risk everywhere you look. Don’t bother legislating it away. Besides, how often do you see explosions of gas stations on the morning news?

    If someone doesn’t know how to pump their own gas (even after being presented with pictograms demonstrating how it is done, which are affixed to just about every single pump out there), should they be operating a motor vehicle?

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    I grew up in PA less than 20 miles away from the Delaware River and Warren Co, NJ. As a young driver, I would willingly pay more for gas on ‘my side’ of the river rather than let someone else pump gas for me. Aside from finding it weird, I never knew if I was supposed to tip them or not. It wasn’t until I was in college and heading down to the beaches in Cape May County and my gas guzzling 70’s Nova NEEDED gas that I finally got gas in NJ. Some Riggins somewhere off of Rt 55. It was kind of fun watching the attendant look for the lid to open (it was behind the license plate). I never understood why it was universally mandatory (except for diesel, oddly), as opposed to just mandating the either/or option.

    In college, had a girlfriend from Edison NJ. She bought a car shortly after we started dating (a used, teal, 1990 Geo Storm…I mean…is there anything more ‘Jersey Girl’ than that?). Anyway, she offered to drive me to work one evening when my car at the time (1991 Plymouth Sundance)was in possession of my father 80 miles away because his Aerostar got T-boned during a snow storm and he didn’t want a rental while it was getting repaired. She needed gas and had NO IDEA HOW TO PUMP GAS! I though she was joking. She assured me she was not. She had only had her license for about a year, and the issue never came up. I showed her how. She uh…’showed her appreciation’ for that in the parking lot of my job. So, for me, there has been at least ONE perk to NJ not letting people pump their own gas. ;)

    However, she was a new driver and an exception. NJ is fairly small from east to west and its a relatively quick drive to NY, DE, or PA if you want to visit friends there or ski or something. Most NJ drivers I know can pump their own gas with no issues.

    Is rural (roughly the eastern half, correct?) Oregon so full of people who have never traveled outside of the state borders that this is a real concern for them? Even discounting the attempts at irony in the comments in the KTVL link above, some seem legit enough that I’m amazed.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The move towards self serve gas station was due to the advances in electronics.

    Remember those antiquated digital read outs and the station attendent reset the pump? You didn’t have to wind the winged lever to reset?

    A few years later the French came up with the ATM and getting cash from the bank was self serve.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Ronnie–I too am old enough to remember the full service gas station and I also remember when you got a discount for filling your own tank and if you had a station wagon you would get an additional discount (a few cents off) which was for trucks. My family had a series of station wagons from the 1959 Plymouth Sport Suburban 9 passenger which my middle brother totalled, to the 1959 Buick Lesabre, and finally the 64 Impala 9 passenger wagon. My father used our wagons like trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      I’m old enough to remember full service, too. We usually went to a couple of different Enco (later Exxon) stations (one that was owned by a guy that played football at Southern Methodist University in the late ’40s with the legendary Doak Walker), and a Gulf station, too. I remember the Enco stations giving away drinking glasses – when my mom passed away back in 2012, she still had a set of rocks glasses from Enco, that had nautical flags lithographed on them; they went in the estate sale. Enco also gave away Dallas Cowboys window stickers, and Southwest Conference college football team themed stuff (Enco was the main sponsor of SWC football radio broadcasts, going back to the days when they were Humble).

  • avatar
    ixim

    Before Gov. Christie raised the tax last year, Jersey had full service AND the cheapest gas around. So much for the Self-service = cheaper gas argument. Any how, now that NY Costco’s Top Tier gas is the cheapest, I’m happy to pump my own. Did spill a little last time, though.

  • avatar
    ra_pro

    Reading these comments revealed to me another mental quirk of some people in the US, they are actually proud that they are incompetent and will fight to stay incompetent. To fill up your own car is just a basic and rather simple life-skill. When my wife started driving about 15 years, she said she expected me to fill up the car. I told her she had a choice if she wanted to drive she would have to fill up the car otherwise she wouldn’t drive. She got the message.

  • avatar
    AJ

    I was in Oregon for the first time last summer. It was weird handing my credit card to some guy, and then was I suppose to tip him? I actually first tried to cross the Columbia River into WA for gas, but there wasn’t an immediate gas station. What a weird experience!


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