Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Pumping gas in Oregon
Many of you know that my blogging friend, frugalmom, over at Fancyin' the Farm Life, came to visit me in Oregon in September. Of all the stuff I thought she'd be impressed with and all the Oregon differences I thought she'd be interested in, the thing that boggled her mind the most was this (photo by marcee):
Yes, that is a young woman, employed by our local Chevron gas station owner, pumping gas into my car for me.
Apparently, Oregon is one of only 2 states in the country (the other is New Jersey) that specifically prohibits, by law, pumping your own gas. I wasn't previously aware of this, nor would I ever have given it much thought, had I not seen the look of shock on frugalmom's face.
See these guys here? Gas station attendants. Note the matching coats and caps:
Self-service gas stations are illegal in Oregon. A law banning self-serve was passed in 1951, presumably for safety reasons although it was supposed to reduce unemployment rates at the time, too. Ever since, oil companies and gas station owners have unsuccessfully tried to have the law repealed, but with no luck. The last time the choice to repeal this law was on the ballot, circa 1982, Oregonians shot it down. We really and truly don't want to pump our own gas. Oregon Statute ORS 480.315-320 states that I could even be fined $500 by attempting to pump gas on my own. (One exception: motorcyclists may pump their own gas in Oregon. Don't ask me why.)
Regardless, I wouldn't want it any other way. I really appreciate the gas station attendant who comes up to my car window when I pull in, asks me how he/she can help me, and immediately gets down to it:
I *love* that I don't have to get out of my car to pump or pay when it's cold/rainy/snowy/windy/etc outside:
I even love overhearing the conversations attendants will have with each other when things are a bit slow. Here they're talking about who to help first when multiple cars arrive at once:
I also love all the things that I am able to get done while someone else fills my tank. You see, I'm one of those gals who perpetually multi-tasks. I love turning on the dishwasher or washing machine before I head outside to do chores because I know stuff is getting done inside as I'm working outside.
Well, it's the same for me when I'm at the gas station. I'm able to get all those little things done that never seem to get done when I'm back at home. For example, quite frequently, while waiting for my tank to be topped off...
I'm able to get a head start on cooking dinner:
I can finally hold still long enough to paint my nails a most dazzling farm girl shade:
I'm slowly but surely catching up on all those Anita Shreve novels I haven't read:
...and the other day, I was actually able to shave my legs:
So, you can see why I feel that Oregon's no self-serve law has allowed me to become a more efficient individual. I get more things done now simply by NOT climbing out of my car at the gas station. I really believe the rest of the country should consider passing legislation similar to Oregon's. I believe, as a country, we would all be much more efficient.