While those in Eastern Oregon may not stare blankly when they find themselves without an attendant to pump their gas, apparently that’s not the case on the other side of the state.
Recently, the state became a nationwide joke when Western Oregonians subsequently “panicked,” as some articles stated, because they didn’t know how to pump their own gas, were too afraid to or didn’t like the smell of gas.
Oregon and New Jersey are the only two states in the nation that are not self-serve. Nearly 70 years ago, an Oregon law passed that banned drivers from pumping their own gas, according to a story by the Associated Press.
In 2015, it became lawful for gas stations in Oregon counties with a population of less than 40,000 — including Union, Baker and Wallowa counties — to offer self-service gas to customers between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. This law made gas available 24 hours a day, which previously hadn’t been an option in many areas.
Then, on Jan. 1, an amended version of the law went into effect, allowing gas stations to offer self-service gas to customers at any time.
One TV station in Portland asked for comments on its Facebook page on the amended law. One person said they “refused” to pump their own gas.
“This [is] a service only qualified people should perform,” the person said, according to an article in The Oregonian. “I will literally park at the pump and wait until someone pumps my gas.”
Another commenter met the post with sarcasm.
“FEAR NOT OREGON!!! I’ve decided to move to Oregon to open a school to teach people how to pump their gas. Short-term business you say?” a man wrote and then listed a variety of menial tasks he could teach people. His Facebook comment has been liked 61,000 times, according to the article.
Those who live outside of Oregon responded to the posts with some harsh criticism.
“It’s official. Oregon is full of mentally defective, full grown children, incapable of the most mundane adult tasks,” another man wrote, according to the article.
Fred Bell, owner of La Grande’s Short Stop Xtreme, which is also a Sinclair station, said he doesn’t get many customers who don’t know how to pump their own gas.
“We get a lot of students from Washington and Idaho who want to do it themselves,” Bell said. “(This new law) is convenient for us if we have a lot of customers (inside the store).”
See complete story in Wednesday's Observer