Should Oregon legalize self-serve gasoline?

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

This week, many Oregonians will take to the road for the holiday week (despite the weird mid-week placement of the holiday).

Which makes it a perfect time for the robust discussion provoked on Facebook by state Rep. Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis) with a simple question:

Oregonians: Would you like to be able to pump your own gas? Why or why not?

So, we'll ask that same question here. Should Oregon legalize self-serve? Do you think it would reduce the price of gasoline, or merely pad the pockets of station owners? Do you worry about the jobs lost, or are these entry-level jobs worth giving up? Any other impacts that you care about?

Comments

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      If you do it correctly, the fuel goes in the vehicle. Oregon should do away with this antiquated requirement as there is not bona fide safety issue and most should welcome a choice. Of course if only from an environmental concern self serve should be allowed to cut down on emissions from all those idling vehicles. Saving a few cents/gallon won't hurt either.

      Of course for those who want to stay in their vehicles and have some body else pump their fuel let them pay for that choice.

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        Kari,

        You're smoking something funny. It's not gas spilling, it's just on the handles. There's no way around it.

        What idling vehicles? Me, I turn off my car either way.

        Too much stuff is automated.

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        It's illegal to be idling your vehicle while the gas is being pumped.

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          I think they meant the vehicles idling waiting for their turn, which takes longer than if there were self service gas. Having grown up outside of Oregon and pumped my own gas, I can tell you it typically takes me twice as long to get gas here in Oregon as it did in Texas.

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            Well the only thing that self service does is save money for the oil billionaires. They get to fire employees and keep the price of gasoline high. There is no evidence what so ever that the price goes down when a state goes self serve. Self Serve is a corporate give away.

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              Well, I agree with you -- except for this edit:

              Well the only thing that self service does is save money for the oil billionaires gas station owners.

              While there are some gas stations that are corporate owned, most are owned by local small business people. They run a low-margin business, and I'm sure they'd appreciate the cut to their expenses.

              But it won't save consumers any money.

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            Find a new station - I never wait in line and am happy to have a friendly person pump my gas. I suppose he could go for the unemployment benefits.

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      There are many reasons for not allowing self service in this state. Many people including myself do not like having gasoline and diesel on my hands and clothing. The real reason Oregonians have rejected the self serve gas is not the price but the ability of young people to aquire entry level jobs. Not everyone can or wants to work at a fast food restaurant. History shows our gas prices are usually competitive or cheaper than California or Washington who both have self service. I applaud Oregonians for rejecting self service.

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    I wish Oregon lawmakers would consider giving Oregonians a choice when we pull in to fill our gas tanks. We could request full service if we'd like someone to pump the gas or we could use the self service option.

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      I'm with you. I think the best solution would be to legalize self-serve, but mandate that a certain percentage of a station's pumps stay full service. That way everyone's happy (if this is even a possible solution, of course).

      I understand the benefits of full-service, but the thing that I dislike about it is that it almost always takes more time than if I were able to do it myself. Usually it's no more than a minute or two, but occasionally, the delays can be significant (late night at a station off I-5 recently, only 4-5 of the 20+ pumps were open because only one person was working... I had to wait 10 minutes to even get to an open pump).

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        I had to wait nearly 5 minutes yesterday for the nozzle to be hung back up so that I could leave. Gas was finished pumping, there was just one attendant and he was busy.

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      Paulie are you an Ayn L Rand cult member? Choice? Choice to pay more for less is what self serve offers. If you can show proof that self serve lowers the price of gas then I am willing to change my mind. But I already know that the stats show otherwise.

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      isn't inertia as good an argument as any?

      I think you just summed up the intellectual basis of social conservatism in a sentence.

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      That's because those states have pretty much always been self service. When you go from full service to allowing self service, you can stipulate in the law that they have to keep full service (maybe one attendant at the regular sized stations, for instance).

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      Great arguement for ending the Prohibition of marijuana! NIDA has been studying the IND patients for over thirty years looking for a negative impact of their medical marijuana use, and they have never reported anything - presumably because they haven't been able to track down a negative effect. The City of Amsterdam attracts tourists from around the world and makes over $21 million a year, and just excluded foreigners from their marijuana tolerance.

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      I would actually like to see more responsibility put on gas station employees. We should require proof of a valid drivers license and current insurance as a prerequisite to purchasing gas! What business do you have putting gas in a vehicle without those items? A state-issued mag-stripe card could instantly verify your status via the DMV, and the attendant could then proceed to activate the pump.

      You could probably get a can-full for your mower or something without that, and I suppose you could just drive around doing that all over town to illegally fill your tank, but this could prevent some of the irresponsible behavior that leads to multiple DUII-convicted creeps causing accidents.

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      The oil companies first tried to tell us that self serve was for our benefit because it would lower their costs which in turn would lower prices at the pumps. Well that has been proven to be false so they have changed the narrative.There is only one reason for self serve and that is to pad the profits of the oil companies. And what do you mean by obsolete jobs? There is nothing obsolete about someone filling your tank, washing your window, checking your oil etc.

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    "No! I don't like self service, getting gasoline on my hands and clothes."

    Get it together Bill. Insert nozzle into filler neck and start flow. The pump will not allow you to overfill. If you're pouring gasoline on your hands & clothing, you're doing it wrong.

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      The stuff is all over the pumps. Anybody who says you don't stink of gas after self-serve pumping is lying.

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        I pumped my own gas for six years before moving here. Can't say that I ever got gas on my hands or left with my hands smelling like gas.

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    Yes. It's become very frustrating waiting at understaffed gas stations while a lone attendant tries to service multiple cars.

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    One of the dumbest things we do here in Oregon is to not allow people to pump their own gas.

    It's not difficult. I've done it in other states many, many times. It's faster and more efficient to do it myself.

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    I travel to the east coast every couple years and pump my own; despite being inexperienced I have never spilled on myself or the car or ground. My sister and b-i-l who live in CT tell me that the safeguards built into the current pumps make it really difficult to spill and have almost eliminated fumes. In New England, if you need help, you go inside and ask and an attendant will assist you. My mother pumped her own gas in NH well into her 80's.

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    Absolutely. Come on Oregonians: we are at least as smart and capable as the folks in the 48 pump-your-own states.

    It must have something to do with having learned to drive in another state. Pumping my own gas is just a simple and basic component of driving. And it beats the heck out of sitting in my car watching the clock tick by as an overworked attendant runs around from car to car.

    Like Senate President Peter Courtney likes to say: Oregon is always the 'first' or the 'only.'

    We do a lot of innovative things here ahead of the national curve. I know it isn't popular to say, but in my opinion: this is not one of them.

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    It's true that many familiar service jobs (often union jobs) are now going away. See those self-checkout lines at more and more retail stores? CEOs intend for that to soon to be the norm. At Ikea (and elsewhere?) you also do your own warehouse search and lug the stuff out to--the self checkout. Does anyone seriously believe that those gas station labor reductions would permit retail prices to fall? Those savings will instantly fly upward into bigger executive bonuses.

    There does seem to be some agreement here that gas prices would not drop one penny if we do away with these jobs. But wait a minute--do away with jobs in the middle of our protracted recession joblessness? That would not only be heartless but also bad economic policy. I'm always happy to see the attendant, knowing that otherwise s/he'd probably be unemployed. Do the "impatient" folks here really not care about that?

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    Of course! We moved here from Maine in the 90's where self-service gas is popular and several cents per gallon less. It's also quicker to pump your own gas.

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        Yeah, right. Then why is the self-serve gas price in Maine 10 cents less at the same station than the full service gas? It was consistently less at self-serve pumps. The real price culprits are the speculators.

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    Thanks for extending the conversation, Kari. The question certainly inspired more discussion than I'd anticipated!

    If you'd like to see what folks had to say in response to the question, you can check it out at

    http://www.facebook.com/sgelser

    I look forward to reading the responses here as well!

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    With Ethanol in gasoline consumers are paying for the loss of about five percent efficency. Not to mention the billions paid to provide a subsidy to corn production.

    But wait, says Kari, this is about self-serve, right? Yes, Kari, it is. And we should have self serve in Oregon. The question is do you believe in a process that works. And do you want to save every consumer, every city, county and the State of Oregon BIG BUCKS? If you do you will have self-serve and you will have ethanol free gas at every station. Just like they do in Alaska. With over five thousanad stations in the US selling ethanol free gas is it not time to fix this disaster?

    The makers of the Stihl chainsaws and other manufacturers are telling purchasers that using gas with ethanol will void the warranty.

    So, Kari, ask the right question to get the right answer. The question, "Why should we pay for a product that ruins our engines?" And why don't you believe in the ability of voters to have an effective form of government.

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      I will give you one example of the types of people that do not have the ability to vote wisely: TEE HEE HADISTS and people who believe Fahx Noise is a source of truthful information.

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    I'm concerned about the number of jobs that would be lost among the poorest Oregonians. It saddens me that no one here bothers to mention how many people would be put out of work during the Bush recession so that people can get out of the gas station 1 minute faster than they do now.

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      Um, Anthony? Are you reading - or just commenting and running?

      Because my post said this:

      Do you worry about the jobs lost, or are these entry-level jobs worth giving up?

      And the very first comment said:

      I like the jobs that are created by our system.

      And I'm counting 21 mentions of the word "jobs" before I add this comment.

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    I would support a change in the law to allow self-serve after 9pm. There's only one 24-hr station remotely close to where I live and even that spot is a 15 min drive each way from my house. I'd imagine many smaller Oregon towns don't have any 24-hr stations. Throw us night owls a bone and let us pump our own gas at the neighborhood station when we find ourselves in need of a fill up at 2 am. The night owl vote is waiting to be courted.

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    Sorry I'm late to the discussion here.

    I lean toward keeping the ban on self-serve, but there is one thing about it that troubles me.

    Sure, it provides jobs, but it provides jobs that require people to breathe gasoline fumes all day long.

    I tend to dislike policies that force others to shoulder the risks so that others can benefit, and that seems to be the case here.

    Can someone point to stats on the health risks associated with working as a gas station attendant?

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    gas prices just dropped 70 cents/gallon in a matter of 2-3 weeks. i didn't see any get laid off. i got the same service as before at the 2 arcos i go to: quick & courteous. i can't for the life of me think why we could get rid of all these jobs, albeit low-pay & low-"esteem", just so we can pay the same while getting stinky in the process.

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    Must be a slow news week.

    No self-serve gas! No sales tax! Vive Oregon!

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    I am a life long Oregonian and real Oregonians will never approve self service gas, or a sales tax.(ironic how all these progressives are ready to kick the gas service attendants to the curb for the sake of their impatience.) Real Oregonians value service at a service station and the service workers who make an income keeping you safe and clean. The senior population especially will be a solid voting block against it.

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    No. I love not pumping my own gas in the middle of winter. I like not getting cold and wet and smelly. I believe that if we legalize it, all service would go away, just like everywhere else. Or it would come at a premium, and we have established here that the price of gas doesn't depend on the number of gas station employees.

    I'm lazy. I admit it. I also don't think it's fair to be asking this question on a beautiful day in July. Let's have this discussion again in January.

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    Why should we kill over entry level jobs for no reason other the increasing margins for gas station owners?

    The gas will not be cheaper if we eliminate those jobs, but it will make more unemployed people.

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    Yes, yes and yes. This antiquated law needs to be put to rest

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    Oh my god, YES please. It's about f'ing time. Because grown-ups can pump their own gas. And because Oregon and New Jersey really shouldn't have anything in common.

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    Ohai, self from 6 years ago: http://www.blueoregon.com/2006/01/selfserve/

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    Regardless of all that's been said, anyone who is worried about spilling gas all over themselves has to be pretty incompetent at doing a simple task such as pumping gas into a car. The only reason I would like to see self-serve gas be allowed is because it would cut down on waiting times and all of those idling engines.

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    In general, I'd prefer to pump my own gas. Right now, however, the jobs are more important.

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    Keep Oregon Oregon!

    No self serve and no sales tax.

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    There are many studies that prove all you who say it takes too much time when there is no self service are completely wrong. Emotions have no place in this discussion. https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:ymJ1sMnMnY0J:bluehawk.monmouth.edu/~rscott/articles/Gas%2520policy-Challenge.pdf+Does+it+take+longer+to+get+gas+in+full+service+states&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESil8sC3rm-9AFT_VP0N5HPdLfKXS8x5lIzBFzR20ib2eU4aIJNcvsCDyY1ed2WcM_De4NippA95B2u9fOSYZ7kmMI0BqnVeTg5Gpb-bHCfXnS7rOigz1ADxlWhwlyKjzhjDUxxe&sig=AHIEtbS9ohQfX5X_wYSXv5zex6zQWPXu3w

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    Okay, we get the message. Some progressives think old people, disabled, and min. wage workers suck!

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