Oregon recently became the center of a national joke when the country learned that its residents weren’t permitted to pump their own gas. According to the LA Times, Oregon and New Jersey remain the only two states in the country where it is illegal to pump your own gas. Why? The laws harken back to an earlier time, when all gas stations were full service.
The New York Times reports that early on, there was some concern about the safety of allowing the public to pump their own gas. In fact, some Oregonians, facing the sudden change to self-serve, are concerned about the safety of exposure to fumes. One Oregon newspaper went so far as to offer an “instruction manual” to residents to show them how to pump their own gas.
Yet, as Oregonians expressed their concerns and some admitted to not knowing how to operate a pump, the internet meme shop went wild. The LA Times saw one thread include memes from the movie Zoolander in which male models hosed themselves down with flammable liquids. One caption read “Day 2 of Oregon Pumping Its Own Gas.” The fact that some Oregonians don’t know how to pump their own gas has made the Oregon law change one of the most read stories on the internet.
But really, if Oregon and New Jersey’s lawmakers think it is unsafe for people to pump their own gas, could they possibly, just possibly, be right? In an era of non-GMO food, organic cat food, and “raw water,” could gas station fumes possibly be dangerous? Should we really be pumping our own gas?
The New York Times reports that it became far safer for the public to pump its own gas once safer unleaded gasoline began to be sold. Better technology at the pump has also made it less likely that a person will accidentally start a fire or cause a major spill. Today, the argument that full service is required to protect public safety is ridiculous.
Yet, there are still things you can do at the pump to keep yourself safe. In winter weather, you may be more likely to hold static charge from your clothes. Discharge static before pumping by touching your car or a metal object before grabbing the pump. Don’t smoke while pumping (duh) and turn off your car’s engine. Finally, wash your hands after dispensing fuel.
If you are injured while pumping gas these days, it’s more likely due to equipment failure at the pump or due to a car accident in the station itself. Car accident risks in gas stations are real because there are more cars moving around along with pedestrians. If you have been injured while pumping gas feel free to contact the personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert Gregg in Dallas, Texas.
So, just use common sense while you’re out there. And, if, you’re from Oregon or New Jersey, it’s time to read up. It won’t be long before all of us have to pump our own gas.