Nation & World

Oregon now lets you pump your own gas. Some people are losing it, others are laughing

Caitlin Dill of Boise visits the gas pump to fill up her car Wednesday Oct.23, 2013 at a South Boise filling station.
Caitlin Dill of Boise visits the gas pump to fill up her car Wednesday Oct.23, 2013 at a South Boise filling station.

With the new year came a new law in Oregon, allowing residents of “rural” counties (those with 40,000 residents or fewer) to pump their own gas — and some Oregonians aren’t having it.

Idahoans who have traveled to the neighboring state may remember that Oregon was previously one of just two states that forbid people from pumping gas, instead employing attendants who do the job for you.

A news station out of Medford, KTVL, asked its Facebook followers how they felt about the change, and they didn’t hold back.

“Not a good idea, there are lots of reason to have an attendant helping, one is they need a job too,” wrote one commenter. “Many people are not capable of knowing how to pump gas and the hazards of not doing it correctly. Besides I don't want to go to work smelling of gas when I get it on my hands or clothes. I agree Very bad idea.”

One woman said she felt unsafe leaving her vehicle at the gas station “with transients around.”

“I don't even know HOW to pump gas and I am 62, native Oregonian.....I say NO THANKS! I don't want to smell like gasoline!” said another. (Daily Caller reports that full-service stations have been the norm in the state since 1951.)

Of course, those accustomed to doing the chore themselves had to weigh in, too. Some posted photos of massive fires, captioned “Day 2 of Oregonians pumping their own gas.” Others joked that they’d move to the state to teach classes in pumping gas. A “car culture” website published a tongue-in-cheek how-to for beginners.

And there were those who were just happy they wouldn’t have to deal with the confusion of the mandatory attendants when they’re passing through Oregon.

The Oregonian published an opinion piece in defense of the practice, too, pointing out that the law has been a job creator, among other benefits. The newspaper added that many gas stations in the affected counties are choosing to pass on the opportunity to let customers pump their own gas.

"Our regular, longtime customers love coming here and talking to us while we pump their gas," said one Prineville cashier.

It’s not the first time Oregon has amended the unique law. In 2015, the Daily Caller reports, the state altered the law to allow people to pump their own gas at night.

Nicole Blanchard: 208-377-6410, @NMBlanchard