This is a funny and true story.  I’m born and raised here in New Jersey but I moved to Florida at one point in my career.  Once I bought a car I drove to get it filled up with gas and I waited…and waited and waited until I started honking my horn and cursing how slow the South was.  Someone finally tapped on my window and asked if I knew how to pump my own gas and of course, the answer was an emphatic no.

Photo by Wassim Chouak on Unsplash
Photo by Wassim Chouak on Unsplash

Humbled, I learned pretty quickly as I apologized to the patrons around me.  I hated pumping my own gas and apparently you all agree.  A survey was conducted in the only two states that still have a no self-serve law in effect, Oregon and New Jersey and an overwhelming 73% said they want to keep it just the way it is and never pump their own gas.

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Photo credit:  Unsplash

It has been against the law for people to pump their own gas in New Jersey since 1949 and if you get caught you could be fined up to $500 but why did that rule start in the first place? 

Money. Pure and simple.  Full-service stations lobbied for the right to keep things that way to even the playing field.  The cheaper self-serve option would put them out of business and they fought hard.  Also, having a live person fill your gas was a chance for a sales pitch and suggestive selling, “need an oil change while you are here mam?”  the attendants used to wear uniforms and a bow tie.  It was treated like a real service industry back in the day. 

When that argument was running out of gas, (I couldn’t resist), they stated that self-serve would result in people over-filling their tanks and causing fires.  It was a desperate attempt that worked, at least in our state. Who knows if it will ever change, but I’m just fine with it not changing especially in the winter.

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