Oregon Gas Pumping Law
Early one morning during our first week in Bend, I stopped for gas at a Sinclair on the North end of town. As I opened my door to get it done, I was startled by the sudden appearance of a raggedy, bearded man at my window asking for my credit card. He wore a crumpled gas station shirt over his street clothes which were also heavily soiled by dust and oil. He reminded me of a crazy hair Robyn Williams without any teeth.
I looked around the station for any indication this was normal and saw another homeless looking person in a different style crumply uniform, reaching in a driver’s window for her credit card too.
Days Gone By
Remember a little later in the 70’s when you got the choice to pay a few cents less per gallon at the “self service” pumps out by the street? And now it’s all expressionless, “pump it yourself”. This was cool!
“Whoa,” I said, making light conversation with the man. “Do you remember the days when you’d pull up to a gas station and hear your Mom or Dad say, “Filler Up with Ethel, Lloyd.” Somehow the parentals always knew the name of the guy at the station. And I don’t know what else was on the menu, but Mom always ordered up the ‘”Ethel.”
Still on the books…
Ask around the State and you’ll find, “strue!” Since 1951 it’s been against state law to pump your own gas in Oregon, …every inch of it. The statute gives 17 justifications for the self-serve ban. They run the gamut from protecting small children left in cars, preventing spills, or people blowing up the gas station, to keeping older drivers from “unreasonable discomfort.”But the justification that’s cited most often is that the law creates jobs…jobs for people like Lloyd here. With state unemployment at 10% right now, it’s a good thing. Or Lloyd may be driven to work as a stunt double for the silverscreen.
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