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Gov. Christie announces New Jersey drivers will soon have to pump their own gas

April 1, 2012 3:20 pm


TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie today announced an agreement had been reached on a 3 week phase out of the states 1949 gas law which requires New Jerseyans to pump their own gas.

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the United States that require attendants to pump gas at gas stations and if the proposed legislation is approved New Jerseyans could soon be pumping their own gas as early as May 1st, 2012 - just in time for the busy summer season.

"Every New Jerseyan will get a financial benefit from this proposal. The working poor. The struggling middle class. The new college graduates getting their first job. The senior citizens who have already retired." Christie stated today at the statehouse.

"Antiquated liability laws have caused insurance premiums to rise and forced gas station owners to hire employees for a job that, I'd think we'd all agree, New Jerseyans are perfectly capable of doing themselves."

The ban on self-service gas stations is a highly combustible issue and makes for some heated debate. New Jersey passed the law making it illegal to pump your own gas in 1949, at the time, legislators felt it was too dangerous to have untrained people dispensing such a flammable liquid.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney last night in the first of a series of town hall-style meetings said that the governor him had reached a middle ground on the proposal that they agreed was in the best interest of New Jersey taxpayers. Sweeney insisted that the move would save consumers anywhere between 25-50 cents per gallon at the pump.

Opponents of the law argue that removing it would lower the cost of gas and make refueling much quicker and more convenient. Proponents of the ban argue that it creates jobs and customers like full service.

Insurance costs for gas stations go down slightly if a "qualified attendent" is pumping the gas, but they must also pay for the cost of hiring an extra worker. Combined with varying taxes on gasoline between states, its true affect on gas price is anyone's guess.

The law is written as follows and the governor's proposed modification to the law would remove the following text altogether:

"An owner, operator or employee of a filling station service station, garage, or other dispensary where class 1 flammable liquids are dispensed at retail may not permit any person other than the owner, operator or employee to use or manipulate any pump, hose, pipe or other device for dispensing the liquids into the fuel tank of a motor vehicle or other retail container."

A final decision is expected on the proposal on Wednesday morning.