Thursday, July 26, 2012

Washington and Oregon drivers at odds over self-serve gas

Washington and Oregon Drivers Worlds Apart on Self-Service Gas Laws

PEMCO Insurance has released a survey that shows a big difference in opinions on pumping your own gas between drivers in these bordering states.

The release shows that 63% of Oregon drivers support their state’s ban on motorists pumping their own gasoline, while 60% of Washington drivers – male and female – support being able to pump their own gas. About half of Oregon drivers said they would support a change in their self-service ban if it meant saving as little as five cents per gallon.

While Washington allows self-service gas stations, Oregon is one of just two states that ban self-service gas stations, with New Jersey the other state. The laws in these two states require gas stations to train attendants to pump gas for customers and prohibit drivers from pumping their own gas.

“The Oregon legislature says that full-service gas stations are especially necessary because of Oregon’s high rainfall, which increases the risk of people slipping on wet pavement and falling on spilled gasoline,” said PEMCO spokesperson Jon Osterberg.

The self-service ban was passed by the Oregon legislature in 1951 (although self-service gas didn’t become popular nationwide until the early 1970s) on the basis that self-service gas stations are less safe, increasing the risk of accidental fires. The Oregon Revised Statutes also defend today’s law on economic grounds, citing that “self-service dispensing at retail locations contributes to unemployment, particularly among young people.”

According to the PEMCO poll, Washington residents are unconvinced of the economic benefits of gas-pumping laws. The poll presented drivers with a proposed scenario suggesting that a shift from Washington’s self-service model to the full-service law would result in an increased cost of about five cents per gallon and create new jobs for Washington residents. Despite the prospect of new jobs, nearly two-thirds of Washington drivers said they would oppose costlier gasoline.
Oregon drivers, however, are more motivated by economic factors – about half (49 percent) said they would consider favoring a change in the self-service ban if it meant saving as little as five cents per gallon.

So, as it stands now, once you drive across the Columbia River into Washington, you'll need to get out of your car and pump the fuel yourself, since you won't find anyone to help you.

And as for you Washingtonians, don't forget that it's illegal to pump your own gas, so hopefully you won't be waiting long!

Source: PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll