Citing the coronavirus emergency, the State Fire Marshal’s Office today allowed customers to pump their own fuel at Oregon gas stations if they don’t enough attendants. But in Albany the word had not gotten around everywhere.
The fire marshal temporarily suspended the ban on self-service, in effect since the 1950s, in order to keep fuel flowing in case station operators have trouble keeping or finding employees, and also to observe the directive for people to stay at least 6 feet away from each other. Read the rule change here.
The self-service change was announced this morning and was to remain in effect for two weeks, until April 11. Station owners were supposed to put up signs telling motorists how to operate the pumps. At least one attendant was to be on duty at all times to enforce social distancing.
Oregon has banned self-service at gas stations — with some exceptions — on the grounds that it was too risky for the general public to pump gas. Forty-eight other states allow it. The Oregon legislature has eased the ban in sparsely populated counties in eastern Oregon, but attempts to abolish it completely have failed.
If self-service proves popular during these two weeks, and Oregon motorists prove they can safely pump gas the way the rest of the country can, maybe this episode will spell the end of Oregon’s ban. (hh)