A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Now, self-service allowed at gas stations

Written March 28th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Getting gas at the Courtesy Corner Shell station in Albany early this afternoon, with an attendant’s help as usual.

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)



28 responses to “Now, self-service allowed at gas stations”

  1. schmuck281 says:

    Gosh, I hope not. When it is raining or sleeting sideways, with temps in the 30’s or 40’s, I really enjoy sitting inside my car taking comfort in the fact that there is a trained and skilled fuel technician seeing to my car’s fuel needs.
    Oregon needs to keep the ban. I have done research on the subject. One time I had to visit Buffalo in December. There they not only make you pump your own gas, but they do not have Dutch Brothers. The only coffee drivethru that I saw was something called a “Tim Horton’s” which is a Canadian interloper. But the children there are bilingual. My grandchildren are fluent in both American and Canadian neither of which do the English recognize as “English”

    • Siren says:

      Lazy Ass !!!!

    • Guido San Giaccomo says:

      As a lifelong California Bolshevik, this is amazing. I’m in my mid 40s I remember full service and when it began to fall to the wayside. Fuel technicians?? I feel like I stepped into the woods from that m. Night Shayamalan movie. Join the Luddites; “indoor plumbing is EVIL!”

  2. Lundy says:

    I’m not against self-service gasoline in general, but this seems an odd counterpunch to the coronavirus: Won’t more people handing the spigots make for more opportunity for the virus to spread?

    • Barb says:

      I too, wonder about contamination of pump handles. Not good.

    • Shawn says:

      The same as handing your debit to an attendant, except the pumps are regularly sanitized, you can wear gloves, and you don’t have to get closer than 6 feet to an attendant.

  3. J. Jacobson says:

    Now we’ll see what Oregonians are made of!

  4. Visionary Catabolic says:

    I’m guessing all the Willamette Valley wimps will be whining and whinging about self-serve. Serves em’ right.

  5. Brandishing Iron says:

    I’m guessing the Lefties will ram a bill thru Salem that’ll make self-serve a felony.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      Absurd. Not even California, the Peoples Republic of Vermont, or the Democrat machine state of Illinois outlaw it. As a semi-leftist myself, I would vote against anyone who tried to do what you guess. State characterizations only for effect.

  6. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “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.”

    We can only hope!

  7. Old dude. says:

    I would ask why we would want self service. I used to purchase gas in Washington at times, and prices there was just as high as here.
    As kid I worked in gas stations, and it provided some much needed income.
    I see no befit to self service, other than eliminating more jobs.

    • Erik Saxon says:

      Very right Sir. I am from Texas, and I myself had a job as a service attendant. There have always been selfserve stations as long as I can remember, but when the station decided to go selfserve I know of six people who lost their jobs. So the good people of Oregon think about that. Six people per station all over Oregon. Bet that’s a lot of jobs.

    • Eric says:

      The gas prices are largely tax based and has little to nothing to do with if you pump it yourself or not. You see it as”eliminating more jobs”… I see it as Oregon limping along useless jobs. Technology has long ago eliminated the need for pump attendants. Those employees will find a different job. They did in 48 other states. To me, it’s the same as payphone repairmen… Sure. They still could do the job, but why?

  8. Patricia Eich says:

    When I drive to San Antonio at least once a year to visit our daughter I’ve never minded pumping my own gas. Have to get out anyway to wash my windshield, stretch my legs, get a snack and use the facilities.
    I can also make sure my gas cap is locked. When I get back to Oregon always have to remind myself not to start pumping my own gas.

  9. Michele R says:

    When I lived in Idaho, I drove to Oregon to get gas. Just so I didn’t have to pump my own. It’s smelly, you get your hands filthy and the weather is never right. I don’t want to pump
    my own gas and I can’t see any reason to eliminate jobs. If there are stations that have people to do it for me, I will be driving there.

  10. Debby says:

    As a woman the last thing I want to do on my way to work or a wedding,
    Or a funeral is get out of my car in a rain or hail storm and pump gas.
    My grandson counts on his job pumping gas.
    As a nurse is everyone wiping off the gas pump before they use it…
    I think not. We get nothing out of pumping our own gas, only the
    Station benefits !

  11. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Time to inject some common sense into this discussion:


  12. Shawn says:

    Self Service is ALLOWED for those that wish to keep social distancing, it is not REQUIRED.

  13. Jim Engel says:

    Hey, for 29 years at the PD I had to pump my own with no problems. When we had a propane powered car ..Now that was an exercise in refueling! Just pull up your “Big Boy Pants” and get thru it. Wear a glove if you must or carry a roll of the blue shop towels. Ya’ll will be looking back in a few months at these times & marvel at how we got thru…

  14. John says:

    Trained fuel attendant is the funniest thing I have ever heard! 48 other states allow people to pump their own gas. The only other state that doesn’t is New Jersey and that’s not saying very much.

  15. Michele R says:

    Just because I do not want to pump my own gas does not mean I need to pull
    up my “Big Girl Pants”. I live on a farm and work to provide my family (and neighbors) with food every day and in all weather. Perhaps you might like to try it? There are a lot of people unable to pump their own gas, I have often wondered how they do so in other states. Perhaps someone in a wheelchair or an elderly person with a cane?
    If they are claiming it is for “social distancing” fine, but I think it is a load of %$#. At many stations, you still have to go inside to pay. How is that helping “social distancing”? When this is all over, will they decide it is just hunky dory and keep the self serve? If so, how many jobs will be lost? And, again, I have lived in states with self-serve and gas was NOT any cheaper there than here. So, what exactly is the advantage?

  16. HowlingCicada says:

    Just some personal thoughts:

    I don’t like being “served” by anyone, anywhere, anytime, really dislike shopping in stores that don’t have self-checkout, and might totally avoid them until the pandemic is over (sadly including BiMart and TraderJoe’s).

    With self-serve/self-checkout/etc and some planning (gloves, wipes, etc), I can control everything and isolate better than with someone else’s grubby hands and loud, spitting mouth nearby. Gas stations and grocery stores are much the same in this way.

  17. Gary Segan says:

    In Michigan, it has not been since the early 80’s, that “Full Service” Gas stations started being phased out here..
    When customers pumped their own fuel in the 1990’s & 2000’s, we used to see alot of check engine lights on w/ EVAP/Emission leak codes set. all because the idiot’s left the fuel cap off -/ or fueled up the veh with the Key and Radio on..

    But I will say, with the virus spreading like wild fire, I sent our Governor and the Prezz, a msg(over a WK ago) telling them to help cut down on the spread of the virus, we need to implement full service at ALL Gas stations, meaning only the station attendant would touch the pump’s.. Still waiting on a direct order or even a reply would be nice…

  18. Clayton Ray Toler says:

    Are yall for real get off your lazy butt and pump your gas big cry babys we in va been doing it for ever and never wine about it .

  19. Terry says:

    Here’s an idea hand them cash. Yes cash. What I do if you have. My arm is about 3 feet and one’s probably the same. Roll down the window a few inches and hand one a extra dollar as well be surprised at how you both feel after. Jobs are needed so now.

  20. Brandon Miller says:

    I think that this is of course important, but what about the hose handles that people will transmit to each other. I think that this is less hygienic than the same person will do it. It is important that at the same time people will feel more comfortable. I think a good solution would be to minimize the use of cash for credit card payments or contactlessly. Yes, and these are jobs by the way! Of course, on the other hand, it makes no sense to linger at gas stations, only for truck drivers. So you need to look from different angles and make a list of pros and cons. I also consider it important to maintain the mental health of the population so that later you do not get into some sort of rehabilitation center of the type: https://floridarehabexperts.com/, haha.


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