HUNTINGTON, N.Y. — One of the only remaining places in the United States to prohibit self-service fueling is considering an amendment that would give retailers and consumers a choice.
Huntington, N.Y., a town of more than 200,000 on the north shore of Long Island, has banned self-service fueling since the 1970s, making it the only place—outside of the state of New Jersey and parts of Oregon—to prohibit the practice. The ban was originally enacted to address concerns over skimming, theft and safety at the pumps when the oil embargo was triggering long lines at gas stations.
“What happened was it was first enacted decades ago when the fire department came to the town,” A.J. Carter, Huntington’s public information officer, told Newsday. “They were concerned that improper use of the pumps could create a fire hazard.”
But Huntington is now considering an amendment to the town’s code that would “eliminate the longtime ban on self-serve gas dispensing nozzles while still requiring full-service dispensing nozzles to be present at all gas stations.” The town will hold a public hearing on the proposal Dec. 17.
Keith Beyer, former president of the Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association, told News 12 Long Island that his group supports the proposal because it should result in lower prices, because full-service gas stations typically need to have more employees on hand, according to the news site.
Oregon began loosening restrictions on self-service fueling 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, House Bill 3194 had not yet been voted on by legislators.
New Jersey still maintains a statewide ban after repeatedly considering and then rejecting legislation that would legalize the practice.