Full Service Only

Some time ago, I was in the Portland, Oregon area on a business trip with a few colleagues. As part of the usual drill of filling the rental car with gas prior to returning it, we discovered that Oregon is a Full Service Only gas state, meaning you can’t pump your own gas.

But what is the reasoning for this?

Found in Oregon Revised Statutes 480.315

You can read the details, but you’ll find arguments related to safety, jobs, etc. New Jersey also has a similar ban.

Was there some tragic event that caused these laws to be enacted? I recall that scene in Zoolander where the models are playing with the gasoline pumps and wonder if something like that really ever happened to prompt such legislation.

From what I can gather, the bans on self-service were designed to prevent smaller service stations from going out of business. Larger self-service chains with convenience stores were disruptive to the service station market and thus the bans came in to protect businesses. The safety claims seem to be thrown in for good measure. 23 states had such bans as late as 1968. Even today, you’ll find a city or two that bans the practice within its jurisdiction, presumably holding ground after the bans were repealed.

If anyone has more history, please pass along. I am intrigued by this.

Comments are closed.