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Here’s Why You Can’t Pump Your Own Gas in Some States

A person pumps gas into a car.

The idea of someone else pumping your gas might sound like something of the past, or something you’d see in a period movie about the 1950s. But, some states—including New Jersey and Oregon—still don’t allow people to pump their own gas. It’s not just a nice service that lets you stay in your car, it’s a requirement.

But, why?

Self-service gas stations have only been around since the early 1900s and were initially designed for emergencies if someone needed gas quickly or in the middle of the night. But, self-service stations eventually grew in popularity because they were cheaper and allowed gas stations to make more money since they didn’t have to hire as many attendants.

As a result, by 1992, about 80% of all gas stations in the U.S. became self-service. So, why haven’t some states followed suit? They have different reasons.

In Oregon, for example, it’s believed that lifting the self-service gas ban would increase fire hazards¬†and that it isn’t an inclusive practice for the elderly or people with disabilities.

In New Jersey, gas attendants are part of the culture. It’s become a slice of nostalgia, and the state is known for it. Politically and culturally, it would be a shocking move to change that now. And yes, it’s often viewed as a political issue. But, the people of the state have made their voices heard more than once that they don’t want self-service.

For most people in the country, having someone else pump your gas might seem foreign but is fun! It might be worth it to visit one of these states to take a step back in time and experience what it’s like to stay in your car at the pump.

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