Thursday, June 12, 2014

“Step Away From The Gasoline Pump”

DSCN0063You can’t pump your own gas in the State of Oregon – it’s the law.  I did not know that until I went to do it.   I pulled in and had to wait for a pump to open.  I didn’t think much about it and really didn’t pay attention while I waited.  Finally, I was able to pull up to the pump, got out of the car, and headed to the pump.  It was at that point that another customer called out of her car window.  “Ma’am, you can’t pump your own gas here in Oregon.”  (She probably saw the Texas plates on the car.)   So I got back in the car and waited and waited for an attendant to show up.  I said, “fill it up, please” and he said, “we don’t take credit cards, will it be cash or debit?”  After I said debit, he gave me a slip of paper with a #2 on it and told me to go inside and wait for them to call my number after the gas was pumped.  So after waiting to get up to a pump, waiting for an attendant to come over to pump my gas, waiting inside to be called to pay for my gas, I was finally on my way out.  And, oh, I nearly swiped my credit card instead of the debit card which the cashier told me would have crashed their entire system.

DSCN0064A few days later, Gary and I pulled up to a pump at another station.  Again, another wait just to get up to a pump; you see backups of cars at most every station you pass.  The attendant came over and we determined this one took credit cards.  We handed the attendant the card and she asked for our zip code as well.  She went over to the pump, swiped the card, and entered the zip code just like we would have done ourselves.

At our third visit, Gary only wanted $20 worth as we don’t like to tow the car behind the motor home with a heavy full load of fuel.  The attendant took the cash, started the pump and walked away to serve another customer.  As the dial raced toward $20, Gary said. “as that nozzle is on your side, you better get out and shut it off at $20 as I don’t want more than $20 worth”.  I leaped out and shut off the nozzle with the meter reading about $19.50.  Upon restarting, it slowed down anyway and finished at $20 even.  The attendant had been able to enter a dollar amount shutoff somehow.  But at that point, I wasn’t going to wait for him eventually to return.  I illegally finished the process and we raced away from the pump as if we were armed bank robbers, hoping that the security cameras hadn’t caught our plate number and that we wouldn’t soon have sirens and red flashing lights roaring up behind us.

It seems Oregon is one of two states, New Jersey being the other, where customers are not allowed to pump their own gasoline. We passed through New Jersey but didn’t buy any fuel there.  The legislation not to allow customer fueling reportedly was passed to avoid job losses, but was also cloaked in fueling safety, although the rules had to be amended to allow motor cyclists to fuel their own in the interest of safety and diesel fueling is apparently at the option of the station, which someone probably figured would be in the interest of safety not to have truckers taking out their wrath on fuel attendants.

So now we know.  If we are in Oregon or New Jersey,  we’ll just stay in the car and WAIT it out.


  1. Reallyyy,

    I first time here that law that "You can’t pump your own gas and gasoline in the State of Oregon" Actually now if go to Oregon then I should remember that rule.

  2. This law is a new one on me and if long lines are pervasive, I'm surprised the state citizens put up with it. looks like they could accomplish the same thing with less wait times by having the attendants clean your windows while you pump the gas.

  3. oh, I so need to remember this when we travel that direction next summer. . .we need to go into Oregon with a full tank in the Motorhome and the Jeep. . .great info to know. . .and shared with great hilarity. . .I got quite the kick out of reading this post. . .thanks!

  4. We learned that about Oregon when we first traveled there last summer. I was jumping out to pump my own fuel also when the attendant made his way quickly in my direction. Oh well, it got him moving quicker!
    We found that the "can't fill your own" rule does not apply for diesel at the truck pumps. We definitely pumped our own there.

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