Self-service gas bill passes Oregon state Senate, moves to Gov. Kotek

SALEM, Ore. (KGW) — Oregonians may soon be allowed to pump their own gas across the state after a self-service gas bill passed in the state Senate with bipartisan support, 16-9, on Wednesday. The bill passed in the state House, 47-10, in March. It now heads to Gov. Tina Kotek for a signature.

House Bill 2426 doesn’t eliminate attendants. Gas stations must keep half of their pumps for attendants and they’re required to offer self service and attendant service at the same price.

“This bill strikes a balance between consumer preferences, business needs, and employment considerations,” said Sen. Janeen Sollman, a Democrat from Hillsboro and the chief sponsor of the bill. “It provides Oregonians choice at the pump, while still protecting access for the elderly and disabled community members.”

If the governor signs the bill into law, it will mark the first time since 1951 that Oregonians across the state can legally choose to fill up their vehicle on their own or let an attendant handle it.

Before the bill passed in the state House in March, proponents said it would speed up gas lines and ease staffing shortages at gas stations.

“Giving stations the option to have some of those closed pumps be open as self service would benefit consumers, station owners and workers,” said Rep. Julie Fahey, a Eugene Democrat and one of the bill’s sponsors. “Personally, at the grocery store, I usually use the attended checkout lanes. But if there’s a long line and I’m in a hurry, and I only have a few items, I will go to the self-checkout lanes. I expect I will do the same thing with pumping my own gas. … Giving consumers a choice in this way just seems like common sense to me.”

Another sponsor of the bill, Rep. Shelly Boshart-Davis, a Republican from Albany, said gas station owners reached out to state lawmakers and asked for help.

“In committee, we heard from many local small-business owners about how they can’t find workers for these positions now,” Boshart-Davis said in March. “In fact, most likely you’ve experienced it as well: long lines at the gas station because pumps are roped off or cones are in front of pumps — because they don’t have enough staff to work them.”

Lawmakers who opposed the bill said they were concerned about its rapid implementation — it goes into effect immediately after the governor signs it — and the possibility that it could eventually lead to the elimination of attendant service.

Polls in recent years indicate a majority of Oregonians preferred to have the choice between pumping their own gas or letting an attendant serve them.

Once Kotek signs the bill into law, New Jersey will be the lone remaining state that doesn’t give drivers the option to pump their own gas.

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