AP NEWS

Douglas County residents prepare for self-service gas stations

April 5, 2019

A new Oregon bill could allow all gas stations to reserve 25% of their pumps for self-service.

The bill, HB 3194, would allow gas stations statewide to make a quarter of their pumps self-service, but would still require attendants for the other 75%.

David Pelton who grew up in Washington said he doesn’t mind pumping his own gas, but likes having the full-service in Oregon.

“I like it because I drive for a living, so I don’t have to get out of my van,” Pelton said while waiting in his van outside the Douglas County Farmers Co-op for his tank to be filled. “It makes it easy. I like it. Sometimes there’s a bit of a wait, so I’d get out and do it myself.”

Oregon and New Jersey are the only states in the U.S. that require full-service stations. In 2017, Oregon allowed gas stations in the 18 counties with less than 40,000 people to operate as self-service. Also able to pump their own gas are people with diesel vehicles or motorcycles or mopeds.

Dennis Bryson is the lead employee for the Shell station at the co-op and said the attendants come across a lot of situations where full-service saves people time with cash and certain card issues.

“The biggest change for the customer is going to be when they come in and want a cash sale, they can’t pump their own gas until they pay for it,” Bryson said. “Most places you have to go into the store unless you have a doghouse like we do.

He also said changing over even just a quarter of the pumps would require refitting them to be customer-facing and would cost the station.

“These pumps aren’t set up for self-serve,” Bryson said. “We would have to get a new setup for that.”

A fiscal impact statement has not been published with the bill, but Rep. Julie Fahey, D-Eugene, who is one of the sponsors for the bill, said it would be a compromise for people on both sides of the service argument.

“I’ve had this idea in my head for several years as a possible way to give everyone what they want,” Fahey told the Portland Tribune. “It would protect full-service gasoline for the people who really strongly want that — and there are a lot of Oregonians that do — and it would give the option for self-service gas to the people who want that. And it would give business-owners the choice.”

The cost would be the same for the self-service pumps as the full-service pumps and the stations would still need attendants.

Beth Johnson said she grew up in Oregon but would be fine with pumping laws either way.

“I’m just used to having my gas pumped,” Johnson said.

Last year, The Oregonian/OregonLive shared a series of videos teaching Oregonians how to pump their own ga s.