SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — New legislation could require gas stations to offer the option of full-service fueling in Illinois, which would make the state only one of a few places in the country to encode this in law.
As introduced Feb. 5 to the Illinois General Assembly, The Gas Station Attendant Act (H.B. 4571) appears to completely outlaw self-service fueling in the state. The text of the bill stipulates that “no gas may be pumped at a gas station in this state unless it is pumped by a gas station attendant employed at the gas station.” This is how the legislation was originally worded by its sponsor, Rep. Camille Y. Lilly (D-Oak Park).
But in an interview with WGEM, Lilly said she planned to amend the language “to give people an option when they go to gas stations.” The bill, once updated, would aim to give customers the right to request help from an attendant or fuel up themselves, she said.
Lilly told WGEM that she saw this option of full-service fueling at work in Atlanta. She said it could be helpful to families with small children or people with disabilities, and it could also help create local jobs. It's not immediately clear which full-service fueling service in Atlanta Lilly is referring to; however, in 2018, a Shell-branded gas station in metropolitan Atlanta began offering a valet service, including full-service fueling, to help ease customers' security fears, AJC.com reported.
If approved, H.B. 4571 would go into effect Jan. 1, 2021. As of press time, the bill had been referred to the Illinois House rules committee.
Only New Jersey and Oregon—and a town in New York—currently have bans on self-service fueling. But these restrictions have been loosening up recently.
In late 2019, Huntington, N.Y., a town on Long Island that has banned self-service fueling since the 1970s, began considering an amendment to the town code to eliminate the ban but still require the availability of full-service dispensing.
Oregon began loosening restrictions on its decades-long self-service fueling ban in 2016, starting first in rural areas. In 2019, a new bill aimed to expand it even more by allowing all gas stations in the state to make up to one-quarter of their fuel pumps self-service. As of June 2019, legislators had not yet voted on House Bill 3194.
New Jersey still has a statewide ban after repeatedly considering and then rejecting legislation that would legalize the practice.