Bill would allow Oregonians to pump their own gas

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 11:03 PM PST
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SALEM, Ore. (KPTV) - A new bill introduced in the Oregon Legislature would allow Oregonians to pump their own gas if they want to.

House Bill 4151, sponsored by both Republican and Democrat lawmakers, would authorize self-serve gasoline statewide all the time, not just when the state Fire Marshal’s Office makes temporary exceptions to current law.

“This legislation will provide relief for gas stations struggling to remain open during labor shortages, for station attendants racing to serve waiting customers, and for drivers stuck in line at the pump,” said Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis, R-Albany, one of the bill’s chief sponsors. “It’s a win for every Oregonian.”

It’s also sponsored by Rep. Julie Fahey, Rep. Ron Noble, Rep. Janeen Sollman, Sen. Brian Boquist and Sen. Rick Lewis.

Oregon and New Jersey are the only two states in the nation that prohibit self-service at the pumps. The state has made temporary exceptions to the rule in recent years because of COVID-19, extreme heat and staffing shortages.

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.

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.

Gas stations in counties that have populations of less than 40,000 can offer self-service gas to customers any time thanks to a law that took effect  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.

The 2022 legislative session starts Feb. 1.