It would take me more than just one blog to list all the things that make New Jersey great. ‘Snookie,’ pizza, our tomatoes, Halloween nights in suburbia, our…like I said, I could go on and on. But now we stand as the only state in the union where we mandate that only gas station attendants can pump our gas.
It used to be that Oregon was our last remaining bother in this, but just this week, state lawmakers there overturned a 72-year-old ban on customers pumping their gas. Now people in that OR can lift, insert, fill, return…pump their own gas.
Here’s a little history lesson and surely facts I didn’t know.
L.A. opened the first self-serve gas station in 1947. At that station, as we knew it to be with ‘carhops’ at drive-in eateries of the ’50s, women still helped out, rolling around on roller skates—since that’s what you do on roller skates, you roll—collecting patrons’ money and resetting the gas pumps. But self-service took a while to catch on, seeing as in some places, like LA, only the employees could handle the gas pumps due to state laws prohibiting patrons from coming that close to flammable liquids.
The New York Supreme Court ruled that local bans on self-serve were illegal in 1967, and when car readers started to become ubiquitous at pumps in the 1980s, self-service popularity indeed rose. But here in New Jersey and in Oregon, where they just gave the heave-ho, we hold fast to being serviced.
I have no true religious objection to pumping my own gas. I have done it plenty when driving around other states and having to stop to fill up. I’m not used to it, but you get acclimated pretty quickly. But for me this falls into the wide range of changes in the cultural landscape I’m not so very fond of.
And it is one of those quirky little things that we are known for in New Jersey. Like our tomatoes, ‘Snookie’ and…like I said, I could go on and on.
Regardless of how we hold firm, I have read predictions that with the assumption of a workforce that seems to be dwindling by the day, there will be fewer people to pump gas in the near future. But in a sure seeming “Field of Dreams” scenario I see played out all the time, when a bunch of new pumps is built (as they just were at the Wawa on Rte.10 in East Hanover or at the Quick Check right off of Rte.78 at exit 12, there are lots of employees running around (no, not on skates) pumping gas.
Go your way Oregon; we are holding strong.