Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Cornered Fossil

According to USAToday, New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states that prohibit self-serve gas stations. This is a bad idea imposed on the public by lobbyists for special interests. It is one more remnant of many such absurd or oppressive artificial requirements which used to dot the legal landscape before mass communication held them up to nationwide mockery and comparison. Most of these ridiculous archaisms have fallen, and these two should also be consigned to the ash heap.

What is amusing is reading the predictable defenses of this indefensible nonsense:
Critics of a shift to self-service say pumping their own gas would be especially hard on the elderly, could create a safety hazard as inexperienced motorists try to fill their tanks and cost many station attendants their jobs while doing nothing to lower prices. ...

"If I'm in a tux going to a black tie (event), I don't want to stop and handle a gas pump."

Bill Dressler, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline Retailers Association and Allied Trades, says there are safety concerns. While attendants are trained, many motorists would be novices. "It could be put in the wrong container," says Dressler, whose group represents about 2,200 of the state's 3,800 gas stations. There could be "somebody getting out and smoking and they didn't turn the engine off." ...

Louis Rivera, 29, an attendant who has worked at the Sunoco station for three years, says self-service could put "a lot of people ... out of jobs."
You know, of course, of the thousands of old people out there in our other 48 states who can't ever drive anywhere because they can't pump their own gas, right? And the tens of thousands of incidents outside the Garden State and Oregon where people blow themselves up smoking while they pump gas? With this epidemic, shouldn't there be a national effort to pass "no self serve" laws in the rest of the union? Have have we survived so long?


Blogger quakerdave said...

I'm from New Jersey. I don't pump my own gas when I'm driving here. I LIKE it that way. Whether this should be a LAW, I don't know.

Can I do it myself? Sure. But my 70-something mother-in-law with the two knee replacements might have trouble, as might the wheelchair-using-but-still managing-to-drive folks with MS I know through my sister who has MS.

Do I? If I have to.

Would I? If I had to.

Do I want to? Not really.

But at least I wouldn't spill gas all down the side of my car the way the "trained professionals" we have here in the Garden State usually do...

9:40 PM  

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