Legislators partially eliminated Oregon’s self-serve gas ban in 2015. They chipped away at the ban again in 2017 with House Bill 2482. They should take the next logical step and eliminate the ban altogether.
The state law that kicked in Monday further increases what’s allowed.
The law now permits people to pump their own gas at all hours in Crook, Jefferson, Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Malheur, Morrow, Lake, Union, Wallowa, Wasco and Wheeler counties. Drivers in Clatsop, Curry and Tillamook counties are allowed self-service fueling between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Drivers in those counties can handle it. Other Oregon drivers can surely handle it, too. Drivers manage to pump their own fuel in every other state but New Jersey. If Oregonians can zip along a highway or carefully negotiate a residential street, they can also surely figure out how to pump gas. With the automatic cut-off, it’s even easier than gassing up a lawnmower. Motorcyclists have been managing to pump their own for years in Oregon.
Of course, some people can’t physically work a gas pump. They may be disabled or otherwise unable to do it. But the Americans with Disabilities Act requires self-service stations to provide refueling assistance to disabled people for the price of self-service.
There are some people who just don’t want to have to pump their own. They would still be able to get gas. Some gas stations will keep full service, as happens in other states.
When the Legislature passed HB 2482, there was no notable testimony against it. It was seen as a common sense change to ensure people in rural counties can get access to fuel when they need it. It’s time to allow the same thing for the rest of Oregon.