Fuels

Full Service to Stay in Oregon, as Gov. Kotek Wants Choice Enforced

Many New Jersey drivers prefer attended fueling, says report
full-service gas pump
Photograph: Shutterstock

Plenty of people still prefer full-service fueling, despite laws in 49 states, including Oregon, allowing for self-service gasoline sales.

In New Jersey, the last state to require full-service fueling at all pumps, drivers said they like the requirement even though they pay more for their gasoline at some stations, according to The Wall Street Journal. Resident Nyoami Winterburn told the newspaper that she won’t move out of the state in part because she likes having gas pumped for her.

In Oregon, where a new state law providing for choice in fueling took effect last week, Gov. Tina Kotek received over 5,000 comments from state residents about the law, with most supporting it, but many reminding her senior citizens and people with disabilities need assistance putting gasoline in their vehicles.

In an Aug. 4 letter, Kotek encouraged legislators and stakeholders to explore strengthening the complaint-and-enforcement process to ensure fuel stations don’t try to eliminate full-service fueling. She addressed the letter to state Senate President Rob Wagner and state House Speaker Rep. Dan Rayfield.

Kotek said she signed House Bill 2426, which allows for Oregon fuel stations to offer self-service pumps as long as they have at least as many full-service pumps in operation but had concerns about “potential unintended negative consequences. for individuals who want or need assistance from the attendant.”

The law doesn’t allow stations to go entirely full-serve but they are required to charge the same price at self-serve pumps as at full-serve pumps. Self-service dispensers must be equipped with an automatic nozzle, which allows consumers to remove their hands from fueling control levers to fuel a vehicle as long as a station employee is in the area. The law allows stations to equip self-service pumps with automatic payment devices.

Oregon began loosening restrictions on its decades-long self-service fueling ban in 2016, when self-service fueling in certain rural areas was allowed. Rural areas allowing self-service without full-service fueling include Baker, Clatsop, Crook, Curry, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Tillamook, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco and Wheeler counties.

In other areas of the state where full-service fueling is required, fuel stations are required to charge the same price for full-service gasoline as self-service gasoline, according to the new law.

In New Jersey, convenience-store owner Ed Kashouty told the Journal that gas prices could be 10 cents to 12 cents lower if self-service pumps were allowed.

But YouGov research suggests consumers often consider factors other than price when deciding where to fill up their vehicles. How convenient the gas station is, including how easy it is to enter and exit, also are important factors.

For the top three fuel brandsShell, ExxonMobil and bpover one in three survey respondents in May said, “brand I trust” and “high fuel quality” were important factors in deciding where to purchase fuel.

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