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Oregon rules for pumping gasoline & covid-19


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We have not traveled in Oregon since Covid-19 so have had no reason to concern myself with their rules about self-service gasoline but I just ran across the subject on another forum, which got me to wondering about the rules there. It seems that the self pumping rule was suspended to protect attendants from covid?

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Can Oregonians still pump their own gas now?

The temporary suspension for rules requiring attendants to pump gas at gas stations in Oregon ends on May 23, 2020. All provisions of this temporary self-service rules change will sunset at the start of May 24, 2020. Self-service for gasoline will no longer be allowed in parts of the state where it had been temporarily allowed. 

That comes from the Oregon Fire Marshal's website. It seems that some parts of the state previously allowed self service gasoline and will again soon, but that brings the question of where is it legal and where is it not. They even provide a map to show how to know if self-service is allowed!  The same rules don't apply to diesel fuel, or to gasoline for a motorcycle.  Is Oregon the only state that has such laws? 

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Oregon has banned self-serve gas since 1951 — excluding diesel — but in recent years has relaxed its rules. The state allowed motorcyclists to pump their own gas starting in 2002 if they are handed a discharge nozzle by an attendant.

 

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 Ok, so with this thread question fresh in mind, I had to get some diesel this morning. Today, april 24 2021, at Cornelius Oregon, Fred Meyer fuel station, (Fred Meyer is a division of Kroger) I asked about pumping my own fuel. I was told I can pump my own diesel, but not my own gasoline.

 Cornelius is west of Portland a short distance, so north western Oregon.

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5 hours ago, mptjelgin said:

New Jersey is the only other state that disallows individuals pumping their own gas.

 

Yes but you can pump your own diesel, in fact I got into a argument with the attendant years ago at the Flying J at the south end of 295 because he tried to insist my Ford F-350 was only supposed to take unleaded, I told him to get his manager which he did and promptly was informed to let me fuel my own diesel truck.

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30 minutes ago, dblr said:

Yes but you can pump your own diesel, in fact I got into a argument with the attendant years ago at the Flying J at the south end of 295 because he tried to insist my Ford F-350 was only supposed to take unleaded, I told him to get his manager which he did and promptly was informed to let me fuel my own diesel truck.

Wow, that avoided a disaster. Makes me wonder if the pump jockey was color-blind and couldn't see the yellow fuel  cap or read the "diesel fuel only" verbiage printed thereon.

What is the supposed purpose of this Oregon and NJ rule anyway?

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2 minutes ago, Ray,IN said:

Wow, that avoided a disaster. Makes me wonder if the pump jockey was color-blind and couldn't see the yellow fuel  cap or read the "diesel fuel only" verbiage printed thereon.

What is the supposed purpose of this Oregon and NJ rule anyway?

The basic reasoning is "safety", which is nonsense because the rest of the country manages to accomplish this daily without incident. I have also heard that it creates jobs, which may be true but they are entry level jobs at best and the entire process drives up the cost of fuel. 

When we spent a few months volunteering in Oregon I would only wait about a 30 seconds for an attendant to appear, and then I would go about pumping my own gas. As some point someone would come out and inform me that I "wasn't allowed to do that" at which point I'd let them know that I waited for an attendant but none had appeared. 

I had one particularly aggressive attendant come out after I'd managed to pump 32 gallons of gasoline into my truck, and tell me that he was going to call the police. I let him know that I'd been out there for about five minutes (long enough to pump that much fuel and pay for it) and was getting ready to leave, but he was free to do whatever he pleased. 

On the occasions that an attendant did appear promptly, it was so bizarre to hand them a credit card, in some cases having to give them the billing zip code (often more than once), and then have them insert the nozzle and walk away. About 50% of the time I'd remove the nozzle when the fill-up was complete rather than wait for the attendant to make their way back.

It is such a bizarre law. I liken it to having an employee standing in front of a vending machine. You hand them your money and tell them what you want. They turn around, put the money in the machine, make the correct selection (you hope) and then hand it back to you.  No value added and such a waste of time. 

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46 minutes ago, dblr said:

Yes but you can pump your own diesel, in fact I got into a argument with the attendant years ago at the Flying J at the south end of 295 because he tried to insist my Ford F-350 was only supposed to take unleaded, I told him to get his manager which he did and promptly was informed to let me fuel my own diesel truck.

On the current diesel Ford Superduty trucks putting gas into the tank and then running it results in shelling out the high-pressure (35,000 psi) fuel pump and sending the shrapnel downstream into all of the injectors. It is a non-warranty repair (understandably) and runs about $10,000.  I wouldn't let an attendant fuel my current diesel truck under any circumstances. 

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50 minutes ago, mptjelgin said:

I had one particularly aggressive attendant come out after I'd managed to pump 32 gallons of gasoline into my truck, and tell me that he was going to call the police.

About 10 years ago we were volunteering there and I stopped for fuel (class A gas) in one of the coastal towns at a Shell station that was large and busy. There were 3 attendants gathered about the middle of the station talking among themselves. Two of them would leave briefly to start fuel for a customer or put the hose back but the guy who was assigned to the outside lanes where we were just stayed there so after a few minutes of watching them, I took the hose down and started my own fuel. When it shut off after about 60 gallons had pumped, the pump refused to complete the sale and print a receipt, asking instead for an employee code. I went to the guy talking and asked him to help, which got the response, "just a minute." I then told him and the girl attendant with him that my fuel was pumped but I needed to pay for it. At that the guy shouted something and ran to my pump. He told me that I could not do this and that he didn't have to help me now. I replied that he could either process my payment or he could watch me leave. Muttering angrily he finally took my credit card and did what was needed to complete the sale. As I was leaving he informed me that I was never to return to his gas station again!

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What happens if you pump your own gas in Oregon?

VERIFY: Are there legal ramifications for pumping your own gas in Oregon? Gas stations can only be fined by the State Fire Marshal up to $500 every time they allow someone to pump gas, through a complaint-based system.

 

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On our way back home this spring, we stopped at the Pilot station in Stanfield, OR and had to pump our own gas because of COVID.  But we'd stopped there on our way down to AZ the previous November and had an attendant pump it for us.  I found it strange that, during the middle of the pandemic, an attendant pumped our gas in November, but they changed their policy by the time we stopped there in March.

An attendant at the Sinclair station in Jordan Valley pumped our gas in March on our way home, so it seems to be a hit and miss policy across the state.

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I did not mind them pumping my gas for me, assuming they were available and prompt, but I lost two gas caps in that state because they did not tighten them past one click, even though I would remind them to make sure the cap was tight.  My original gas cap had been damaged, and a truck repair place had put on one without the tether because that was all they had.  Eventually I found a Ford dealer that was able to sell me the right gas cap with a tether.  Frankly it is a silly law and makes getting gas take longer. 

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In 2010 to 2012 I traveled and camped extensively through out the great scenic and friendly state of Oregon including most of the coastal area with my gasser V10 truck towing a TT. 

Everywhere including small rural towns the fueling guys and gals were fast and friendly, helpful and often refused my offered tips.  Yes I could afford to tip and the gas. 

No self fueling allowed then at any of the locations I stopped at.  No problems and I checked my gas cap after each refueling.  I enjoyed their service.

Did another return great trip to the state in 2018 and will be going again soon to central and coastal Oregon.  No more trips to Portland for me though.

"Two heads are better than one" said a famous actor in a movie.

 

 

Edited by NamMedevac 70
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9 minutes ago, Deezl Smoke said:

if only you knew the shenanigans the governor

Since this elimination of self service gasoline has been around since 1951 you probably shouldn't blame the current governor. 

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The original ban on self-service gasoline was passed in 1951 in Oregon. The state law made it illegal for gas station customers to pump their own gas and mandated $500 fines for stations that violated the law by letting customers pump gas. The law includes justification language explaining that pumping gas can expose customers, including pregnant women and children, to unsafe fumes. It also said customer pumping can be dangerous for novices, can cause spills and can cause discomfort to the elderly.

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In 2015, the law was amended to allow stations in rural areas to offer self-service gas between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. This allowed gas stations in sparsely populated areas to remain open 24-hours without providing overnight attendants.

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In 2918 modifications were taken a step further starting Jan. 1. Now, gas stations in counties that have populations of less than 40,000 can offer self-service gas to customers any time. If the station also has a non-automotive retail operation — a snack store, for example — it must keep a gas station attendant on duty from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

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Supposedly it was a "make work" thing - with "safety" as the excuse.

Over the years I was a regular "tourist" in and through OR.  Back when with gasoline powered vehicles.

Usually no big deal - sometimes the attendants were good - sometimes not so good.

When I graduated from gas to diesel - I made sure I was *always* the person pumping fuel.  Never had a problem asserting that "privilege".

BTW - when the "new" ultra low sulfur diesel was introduced in the US - Mexico was way behind - not available in the interior of  Baja.  A guy with a new diesel pickup we knew, fueled with the "old" diesel - which put his truck in limp mode.

IIRC it was a Chevy - and there is/was a dealer in Cabo?  No help.  Had to have it flat-bedded back to San Diego for repairs - - tow & repairs on his own hook, as he instantly became his own warranty station.

.

 

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5 hours ago, Pappy Yokum said:

Supposedly it was a "make work" thing - with "safety" as the excuse.

Over the years I was a regular "tourist" in and through OR.  Back when with gasoline powered vehicles.

Usually no big deal - sometimes the attendants were good - sometimes not so good.

Maybe I'm the only old guy here, but I remember when self-service gas was unusual.  I also remember the people complaining when self-service gas stations began to replace full service.  My grandmother was wildly angry be cause here hands would smell of gas. It is one of the only times I remember her cussing.

Wayne & Jinx
2017 F-350 diesel, dually
2006 Carriage Carri-Lite 36KSQ

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57 minutes ago, Jinx & Wayne said:

Maybe I'm the only old guy here, but I remember when self-service gas was unusual.  I also remember the people complaining when self-service gas stations began to replace full service.  My grandmother was wildly angry be cause here hands would smell of gas.

Not the only one. The OR site indicates that they made that rule in 1951 so I suspect that the major gasoline sellers were supporters of the law, if not the originators. There are still a few places that will pump your gasoline, but not many that I know of. I have noticed that some stations have a sign saying that an attendant will pump gas for you if handicapped. Today, I only know of 1 small station that normally pumps fuel for their customers. Adams 66 in Council Grove, KS will pump fuel for anyone if they give him a moment to get to the pumps. My aunt trades there today, partly for that reason an partly because he is still the old style state that does oil changes and other servicing for cars for people. 

If interested, I discovered an article, The History of Self-Fueling which is quite interesting. It also has some facts that I was not aware of. 

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 In 1947, Frank Urich opened the first self-service gasoline station in Los Angeles. The unbranded station featured rows of gleaming pumps and girls on roller skates who zoomed around to collect money and reset dispensers. At these early self-serve stations, the pumps ran by a mechanical computer that allowed an attendant to manually turn the pump back to zero for each new customer. The worker also collected money and returned for customers who pumped their own fuel.

 

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I lived in Oregon for 30 yrs.  The gas pumping issue was always a joke.  I got both gasoline and diesel at a card lock in our small town for years.  At some point I was told I could no longer pump gas for my private vehicle due to complaints to the Oregon State Fire Marshal about the station.  (Probably a competitor) I also worked for the city and we were allowed to pump our own gas there after completing a State required gas pumping course but I still couldn't apply that to my POV.  They have changed the law in Oregon to allow self pumping at unmanned stations at night in rural area's due to the stations being closed as it was not profitable to have a attendant all night.    

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4 hours ago, Jinx & Wayne said:

My grandmother was wildly angry be cause here hands would smell of gas. It is one of the only times I remember her cussing.

 

I use disposable gloves every time I pump diesel.  You should see how dirty they get!  I don't want that on my steering wheel.

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I should "backtrack" on the safety rationale......During a 30 year fire service career, on occasion there were gas spills to "mitigate" for one reason or another.  Usually is was for a leaking gas tank on a vehicle (*not* at a gas station).......with one MAJOR exception at a self-service station!

A full service attendant would have made the day for this unfortunate boat owner.......and probably saved a LOT of cussing - and expense!

So the boat owner and his buddies spent the day off the So. Cal coast fishing.  Forget the brand of boat, but about a 24' cuddy cabin - genuine fishing boat.  On return from their day of fishing, he stopped at the self serve gas station to fill up for "next time".  His buddies decided to help out with the refueling by pumping the gas!  (no doubt had a few brews while waiting for a bite).

We get a call for a gas spill at the station - from the cashier.  On arrival we found the buddies/friends had pumped 60 gallons of gas - into a pole hole!!  (That's 60 gallons into the bilge !)  Fortunately, the cashier had caught the strong odor of gasoline (which had overflowed/began to drain)  and shut down the pumps (emergency shut-off switch) - before things got any worse.

Long story on mitigation - had it been in more "modern" times there would have been h*ll to pay for a Haz-Mat clean up - including the storm drains (which flow to the ocean).  As it was, the boat owner had his own problem with bilge flotation soaked in gasoline (and the AFFF we added) - -- as well as dealing with the adjoining city (they were notified) where he stored his boat. 

Never found out how the fishing went.

.

 

Edited by Pappy Yokum
typo corrected
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Howdy!

In our travels in Oregon and NJ I found it unbelievable how many people would pull up give the attendant their credit card and pin number to pump gas into their vehicle. My first encounter with this law in Oregon was from a attendant that informed me turn my diesel truck off she had to pump my fuel. Back then you needed the turbo to cool down before turning off the motor. She ran around pumping fuel for half a dozen or more locations. She informed me the law was in place to put more people to work in Oregon. She didn't like it when I  informed her they needed to hire more people. It made her mad enough that she told me diesels could pump their on fuel.

"Happy Trails"

Chiefneon

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4 minutes ago, chiefneon said:

Howdy!

In our travels in Oregon and NJ I found it unbelievable how many people would pull up give the attendant their credit card and pin number

That sounds more like a debit card.  But yeah, crazy.

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From njtrafficcourt.com, 

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Under the 1949 Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act, pumping your own gas in New Jersey is unlawful. The statute, N.J.S.A. 34:3A:10, imposes penalties for violating the act and these consequences range from $50 to $250 fine for the first offense, and not to exceed $500 for each subsequent offense thereafter.

 

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As an outsider looking in we find this rule a 'bit' strange. Bit like having to pay before pumping. (We always paid cash for our fuel after our credit card was compromised in New Jersey a 1000 miles away from where we were).

No petrol, sorry gas, station would survive in Australia if you had to pay first. Every station has CCTV.

 

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