I Heartily Dislike Full-Service at the Gas Station

Then why don’t I just go to the self-serve pump?


See, New Jersey doesn’t allow self-serve gas pumps. It’s full-serve or nothing.

I’ll spare you the details of my many recent encounters with exceptionally slooooow service attendants. I’m sure you can imagine. All I want is to get my gas and leave. Why why why must I wait to have someone else pump my gas and collect my payment when I can pump it myself and pay at the pump everywhere else?

I really don’t know why New Jersey requires full-serve. Common explanations are:

  1. It doesn’t raise the price of gas–we have the cheapest gas in the nation. (But would it be even cheaper if we had self-serve? What about the value of our time?)
  2. It provides jobs for people. (This one could be a great debate, eh?)
  3. It’s a safety issue. (Then why isn’t self-serve outlawed everywhere?)

Does anybody know the reason for this asinine law?
Are there any other places that require full-serve?
What are the rules in other countries?

p.s. Toxic waste. Armpit of the nation. What exit? There, I’ve spared you the trouble of making the requisite Jersey jokes in this thread.

Oregon does not allow self-serve gas stations. And, as a former service station attendant, I say good! I’ve pumped enough gas to last me a life time. I don’t mind the wait for an attendant if it means I don’t have to get out in the rain/snow/sleet, get gasoline smell on my hands, and so on. So there.

(Actually, the above points I made are, for me, moot, because I don’t drive anymore–too disabled. But once upon a time that’s the way I felt.)

IIRC, most stations with self-serve do have full-serve as an option. I’m certainly not arguing for the elimination of full-serve for those who want it or need it. I just wish I had the choice.

Well, according to the Lundberg Survey, generally considered the benchmark for such things, the current lowest prices are right here in metro Atlanta, at least as of Friday.

According to Lundberg, the average price for self-serve regular in Atlanta is $1.46 – 10 to 20 cents higher than I’ve seen driving around north Fulton & Gwinnett counties this weekend. Atlanta usually has low prices, due to Georgia’s very low state gasoline taxes (something like $0.02/gallon, IIRC).

I wouldn’t mind having full-serve gas stations around here…because at least that might justify the price! :mad:

Got ya beat, 3waygeek. I paid $1.35/gallon yesterday when I filled up.

Actually Green Bean, I can’t remember the last time I saw a full service gas station. I don’t understand any possible reason for it being a law in NJ, other than some very powerful lobbying is going on. It’s not a safety issue really. How many times do you hear about gas stations blowing up?

I hate the damn things, too. We drive from MD to CT a lot, and on peak travel times (which we try to avoid, but it doesn’t always work), it can be a much as an hour wait to get filled up on the Jersey pike. We’ve worked out a system, when the lines at the pumps are long, we just go ahead and get in line, then take turns going to the bathroom, getting food, etc.

I would much rather fill up myself than spend the extra hour cooped up in a minivan with 3 kids and a dog.

New Jersey enacted the law in 1949 for safety reasons. More info.

BTW, is it really against the law in NJ to slurp your soup?

Agreed, there is nothing more frustrating than driving up to an empty pump, only to wait for the guy to finish up pumping gas at 3 other cars. I almost never have to wait, not even a minute, to get gas in New York. Sometimes it takes them so long to make it around to your car, that I would’ve been done and gone if I could’ve pumped it myself.

Not to mention that the guys always top it off and let some gas drip out of the nozzle onto my paint :mad:

Do you have a newer copy of the Lundberg Survey? The one you linked to is from May of last year.

If it is, then I really should be in Rahway state prison. ::shlurrrrp::

Thanks for the link on the “safety” issues. Here’s an interesting point: “Moreover, self-service is statistically safer by a substantial margin than attendant-serve outlets.” Not surprised. How many times has the attendant over-filled my tank and spilled gas down the side of my car. Plus, I’ve seen attendants smoking cigarettes! :eek:

3WayGeek: NJ’s gas prices are always among the lowest in the nation. Feel better? (We’re paying $1.29 at the moment.)

Lucretia: An hour to fill up??? That’s insane! Would it be faster to just get off the turnpike and go to a local station? (EZPass is your friend.)

Damn Google! That’s why the prices I saw over the weekend ($1.20 - $1.30) didn’t match the survey. BTW, the last time I filled up (about a week ago) I paid $1.25.

If I did the conversion correctly our price here works out to about (U.S.) 1.80 / gallon. Folks in other parts of Canada pay even more than we do here.

It seems like only the smaller companies offer full serve while the big guys like Shell and Imperial (Esso) are mostly self serve.

I only opt for full serve when it’s really nasty outside.

1949? I also thought self-service was a creature of the 70s (or maybe 60s), and that all gas stations from the 40s had at least 3 attendants per car (or at least they did in old advertisments I’ve seen).
Here in NY we have gas lines of up to 20minutes (of course, this is only at a gas station that’s about 15cents cheaper per gallon than it’s neaby competitors…)

SirRay, from Chevron’s web site:

“Although self-service stations had been around since the 1930s, and despite advances that improved self-serve safety and technology, only 6 percent of U.S. stations allowed customers to pump their own fuel in 1974.”