Finally, Oregon will let you pump your own gas

Xavier Lorenzo/Getty Images

On June 22, the Oregon Senate took the final action to pass House Bill 2426. If you own a classic car in the greater Oregon area, you should be celebrating.

In case you haven’t been keeping track of the 82nd Oregon Legislative Assembly, H.B. 2426 amends a 1951 law (ORS 480.315) that forbids drivers to pump their own fuel by requiring an attendant to pump fuel into the customer’s vehicle.

Chrysler At Gas Station 1958 vintage
A gas pump attendant fills up a Chrysler car at an Amoco station, 1958. FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The prohibition on self-serve fuel has long confused out-of-town drivers, and some locals don’t always abide by it: When expensive-looking vehicles appear at the pump, attendants sometimes ignore the law and let the driver take care of things. If H.B. 2426 becomes law, at least half of the pumps at any given station in Oregon must be self-service.

The push for this change came from a lot of different fronts, including fuel station owners and managers. Some objected, such as Northwest Grocery Association, which stated concerns that allowing self-service would cut jobs for gas-station attendants; but there have long been staffing troubles that left pumps idle and customers waiting. Add in the fact that, according to a 2021 survey, roughly 60 percent of Oregonians were in favor of self-serve pump options, and it is easy to see why H.B. 2426 is headed for the Oregon governor’s desk.

june 2007 oregon exxon gas station
June 10, 2007: Station supervisor Stacy Windley, left, fuels a customer’s car at an Exxon gas station in Eugene, Oregon. Bloomberg via Getty Images

Once passed by the Oregon House, the bill moved relatively quickly through the Senate thanks to bipartisan support: Introduced on January 9 of this year, it was passed on June 22. It’s not the first time legislators have considered such a move: in recent history, Oregon has been making incremental steps towards this near-complete lift of the self-service prohibition. In 2015, 2017, and 2020 bills were passed that enabled limited self-service during night hours, in rural areas, and under emergency situations like heat waves and wildfires.

If signed into law by Oregon governor Tina Kotek, H.B. 2426 will go into effect immediately, leaving New Jersey as the only remaining state to ban self-service gas pumps.




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    Honestly. You’d think people actually like pumping their own gas. There are reasons to like, and to dislike, living in NJ. Letting some other person deal with hands that smell like gas is one of the likes. And getting rained/snowed/sleeted on while in the process. Not my cup of tea.

    As a fellow NJ resident, I have always had mixed feelings about the no self-serve rule. It does create jobs – whether or not there are folks willing to fill them. I personally have never been prevented from filling up my own car as a lot of my cars have unusual locations for the gas cap. One thing I have observed from having to fill up in other states is that the gas attendant does help keep things moving along. I can’t count the number of times I have had to wait for a pump because someone went into the store during their fill-up and took their sweet ol’ time getting back or they elected to play with their phone for 10 minutes after they were done fueling. One big down side is that you can’t pull up to the pump and fill up with your credit card after-hours like you can in some states. At the end of the day, I really don’t care one way or the other, and this just winds up being something bored people like to spend a lot of time fussing about

    A fellow NJ resident in complete agreement.
    My wife has a sweatshirt: “Jersey Girls Don’t Pump Gas”

    Just give me the cheaper option. I’m happy to let someone else pump for the same price, but history has proven that 100% of the time, self service is substantially cheaper.

    As for the person who has limited mobility, state laws require attendants to pump fuel for persons displaying a handicapped placard. You get full service at the self-service price. Having this option means those who want full service can pay for it while those who do not can get a discount.

    The only complaint I have is the lack of communication… I recently took a trip that ran partially through Oregon. I stopped at “the usual place” to fuel up, and no one came out to pump the gas. Since this place is often busier than they have attendants to cover, I was used to waiting a bit. When no one came after about 5 minutes, I checked around and saw other drivers filling their own tanks. Somewhat embarrassed, I filled my own tank and went on my merry way. It would’ve been nice if the station had posted a sign or something!
    I’ve got no problem with pumping my own gas. I actually worked at one of the first self-serve places in Idaho, way back in the late ’60s (it was combined with self-service car wash bays). Plus I live on a ranch where a 250 gallon tank on stands with a filler hose was de rigueur for many years until a Chevron was actually built about a mile away, so it’s now easier to just run the tractor down the hill (and probably safer – or at least my insurance guy thinks so!)…
    I’m sure there are folks who appreciate having their gas pumped for them – my father was a paraplegic and although he could manage it, it was surely difficult (especially in bad weather) for him. So having attended pumps can have advantages. But in general, I’ve found that I can usually get back on the road more quickly with self-serve (unless, that is, I sit in the car waiting for an attendant that’s never gonna come – d’oh!)… 🙄

    Up to now it depended on which county you’re in. In 2017 they changed the law allowing self-serve in counties with a population less than 40,000.

    Remember when they were called SERVICE stations, not gas stations? As an Oregonian, I am AGAINST self service, as my mobility impairment makes getting in and out of my car difficult. And despite guarantees that stations will keep at least one full service pump, this is a lie, as proven by California where self service was eliminated within a few years of passing. And speaking of Cali: gas is MORE expensive at self serve in SoCal than in full service Oregonian stations. We need the jobs here, we need good full service gas, and the cost to the BILLION DOLLAR petroleum industry is minimal.

    There is NO cost to the “Billion Dollar” petroleum industry for fuel station attendants. There is, however, a cost to the consumer for these attendants. Duh.

    Nailed it. The cost is to the station owner/company in employee costs, and that is of course reflected in the cost of goods and services at that station. This should result in a decrease in costs, and improvement in service times, especially if they are struggling to fill open positions now. It is the same thing we do in my industry (credit union/banking) with ATMs. Long-term, what will likely happen is that some stations will retain the most attendants they can to service those who want to have that full-service, and others will go with the least amount of attendants in order to serve those that desire that service model. Everyone wins.

    There’s no law in California requiring attendants like the law does, so what happens there is irrelevant. It sounds like you don’t travel much in Oregon. In places like Madras, Prineville, Burns, Baker City, etc., full service is readily available even though stations haven’t had to provide it since 2017.

    I drive my classic BMW 2002 through Oregon a couple of times. Some gas stations had older attendants who knew how to pump gas with the newer pumps and older cars. Some gas stations had younger attendants who were more than happy to allow me to pump my own gas. One of them told me they were worried about the gas splashing back and damaging the paint on classic cars.

    As a kid, I used to “work” at my grandfathers service station. Check oil, clean windows and pump gas. I do believe we still need that option at all stations for reasons others have already stated. With that being said, when I would ride my motorcycles through Oregon, I would NOT let anyone fill the tank! The polite people would hand me the hose and stand back. Those that said “NO”, I just left the station. To me, mandatory laws like this have always been a “big brother” move, and a good reason to NOT live in that State.

    I don’t want someone pumping gas in my car. I don’t live in Oregon so this is not an issue.

    It’s about time. Living across the Columbia and driving through Oregon weekly gives plenty of opportunities to observe gas station attendant ineptitude. One guy in Madras offered “Let me show you how to get this locking gas cap off without using the key!” (“No thanks, I don’t want to have to buy a new one.”) Another guy at a different station got bent out of shape because I took the gas cap off my own car (without touching the pump or nozzle). Overfills, underfills, splashes down the side of the car, you name it. I don’t mind freezing in the winter, soaking in the spring, or roasting in the summer for 10 minutes, if that.

    FYI self-serve has been legal in Madras since 2017. The Loves station and the one at the truck stop north of town even have designated self-serve islands.

    Ahh for the days of SERVICE STATIONS! That was me a Goober’s Sinclair in the mid sixties (before a Goober was ever on Andy Griffith show) and it taught me a lot.
    Check their oil and tire pressures, wash all the windows outside and ask if the I need to dump the ashtrays.

    I, too, live in NJ and like that I do not have to pump my own gas. I did that as a high school job many years ago. I am glad to never do it now. Also, for those living outside of NJ, we generally do not pay more for our gas than neighboring Northeast self-pumper states. And if you’re in Oregon and think self-serve gas is going to magically lower prices at the station’s quickie mart, don’t hold your breath.

    Nope. Doesn’t apply to EVs, diesels, motorcycles, boats, airplanes, or cars in counties with populations of less than 40,000. It was a very discriminatory law.

    This reminds me of a story of my early days of driving… One of my first journeys outside NJ that was long enough to require a stop for gas had me sitting in a gas station in Delaware for almost 15 minutes before it dawned on me that I had to get out and do it myself… Then I had to look cool like I knew what I was doing while I figured out how to operate the pump

    I live in Oregon and I like full service gas.
    This system employs high schoolers giving them jobs which expose them to cars and also introduce them to a modicum of responsibility.
    The system also encourages human social contact which is sadly lacking in the country, soon there won’t be grocery clerks, bank tellers, or even cab drivers, just a bunch of blank machines to interact with. Sorry Oregon not everything needs to change,( although some things certainly could!!).

    I live in NJ and pray we never go to self service. The “savings” will go straight into the pockets of the station owners and a lot of entry level jobs will disappear.

    Wow—that’s huge! Welcome to the 21st Century, Oregon! I haven’t had someone else fuel my cars in decades, living in Arkansas and Texas, but traveling country wide. Spouse does it for me occasionally, of course…

    I’m happy to live in a state where I can pump my own fuel, although the “full service” is fun to use every once in a while, that is if you can find a station that actually offers it. When I was in high school in the mid 2000’s, there was a Shell station by my house in College Station, TX that still offered “full service”. They also had a garage/shop on the site as well. If I remember correctly, the gas prices for “full service” were something like $0.10 or $0.20 higher per gallon across all grades compared to self-serve. An attendant would ask how much of which grade you wanted and wash your windows, plus check and adjust your tire pressures. I didn’t have a lot of money to do this very often, but it was kinda cool to take my ’68 Mustang there every once in a while for that “back in the day” experience. I believe the Shell station is still there under the same name, but I’m not sure if they offer full service anymore.

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