Oregon lawmakers advance self-service gasoline legislation
Oregon lawmakers on Tuesday voted to advance legislation that would allow people to pump their own gas.
House Bill 4151 passed on a 10-3 vote in the Transportation Committee and was referred to the Ways and Means Committee in the state assembly, according to an online tracker for the legislation.
The bill would not eliminate gas station attendants who pump gas for customers but would allow businesses to provide a self-service option. Oregon and New Jersey are the only two states in the U.S. that prohibit self-service pumping at gas stations, besides some local municipalities in the country, according to the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing.
If passed, the Oregon bill would permit retail stations to allow self-service at a certain number of pumps. For example, if there were nine pumps at the gas station, no more than 40 percent could be reserved for use by an employee or attendant.
The bill also mandates certain safety measures and violators could be subject to a $1,000 fine.
Gas stations in violation could be subject to a $5,000 fine per day, according to KOIN 6 News, a CBS affiliate.
State Rep. Karin Power, a Democrat representing the district of Milwaukie, said the legislation would make Oregonians’ lives easier, KOIN 6 News reported on Tuesday.
“I know my own gas station attendant is often enormously overworked and works through holidays and I’ve seen people be very curt and sometimes mean after having to wait,” she said at a hearing. “So I think this sort of strikes the right balance.”
Other lawmakers said they enjoyed having attendants pump gas for them and questioned if enabling self-service would really help ease backups at gas stations.
“This is a complaint-driven system. That means people have to take the time to decide to call the fire marshal. They have to take the time to decide to make those phone calls and to make that complaint. In many cases, that’s not going to happen,” said Sen. Lew Frederick, a Democrat representing Portland, KOIN 6 News reported.
Oregon passed a law in 2018 allowing counties with 40,000 or less people to self-serve at gas stations.