Next time I’m in Oregon I will be pumping my own gas.

This is because in June the Legislature passed a law allowing for self-serve gas stations and the governor agrees it’s a good idea.

People will soon be able to legally pump their own gas in Oregon. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

This is a big change. Lawmakers in 1951 thought the concept of pumping one’s own gas was a bad idea and instituted rules to prohibit that practice. The logic at the time was rooted in fear of fire and not wanting to eliminate jobs.

Based on my experience last month in Oregon, it’s not going to eliminate too many jobs. Only one person was working each of the stations I went to. This was inefficient.

On top of that, the dudes never washed my windshield.

At least when I was in Baja, where people are also paid to pump customers’ gas, my windows were always washed. The person would even ask if I wanted the oil checked, which I never did because I wasn’t going to be able understand what they said and it’s easy enough to check myself. It was customary there to tip the service attendant 20 pesos (about $1).

According to NACS, the leading global trade association dedicated to advancing convenience and fuel retailing, it was in 1947 that Frank Urich opened the first self-service gas station in Los Angeles.

However, it was John Roscoe who in 1964 revolutionized the concept by implementing the first remote access self-service gas pumps in the U.S. in Colorado. Herb Timms is credited with inventing the device that allowed the gas station attendant inside a convenience store or the like to essentially turn the pumps on and off for customers.

It was in the mid-1980s that people could use credit cards at the pump without engaging an employee.

Once Oregon let’s people pump their gas, it will leave New Jersey as the only state that mandates someone else do it.

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