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Self-serve gas bill moves forward

A gasoline pump fills a vehicle
Michael Clapp
File photo
A bill that would allow self-serve gas is being considered in the Oregon legislature.

A bill that would allow Oregon gas stations to offer self-serve gasoline is moving forward in the state legislature.

Self-serve gas has been legal in some rural Oregon counties for several years, but it’s still off-limits in most of the state. Oregon is one of just two states that place limits on drivers pumping their own gasoline. The other state is New Jersey.

House Bill 4151, which advanced out of the Joint Transportation Committee on Tuesday, would require stations to maintain full service for at least half of their pumps.

Rep. Shelly Boshart Davis, R-Albany, said the measure would simply give drivers who want to the opportunity to fill up and go without waiting for assistance.

“We have heard of significant labor shortages through Oregon at gas stations across the state, and the wait times that people are enduring," she said. "So I think that we came to a place that allows consumers to have choice.”

But some lawmakers on the panel weren’t very pumped about the idea.

“I don’t know if you’ve seen some people trying to pump their own gas, but not everyone is an expert," said Sen. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale. "So taking the attendant away, and adding some people that actually aren’t very good at it, might not speed anything up.”

The bill now heads to the legislature’s budget committee. That's because the state fire marshal’s office says it would need to hire several people to write rules and manage complaints from people who could potentially contact the office about stations that fail to provide an attendant.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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