Why We’re Not Allowed To Pump Our Own Gas In New Jersey
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.
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.
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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