Governor Brown to decide on self-service gas bill

The Senate approved in a 25-5 vote

Lydia Holland fills up at a gas station in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Lydia Holland fills up at a gas station in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Senate has signed off on a plan to allow self-service gas pumping – but only in rural areas and only at night.

On Thursday, the bill was approved by House after the Senate made changes. It will now head to Governor Brown for approval.

Oregon and New Jersey are the only states that don’t let drivers fill up their tanks by themselves.

The bill will allow self-service pumping between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. in counties with fewer than 40,000 people. That covers a wide swatch of the state including almost all of eastern Oregon.

The bill’s proponents say gas stations in sparsely populated areas can’t afford to stay open all night, making it difficult for motorists to fuel up.

Drivers KOIN 6 News spoke with are mixed on the idea. Dawn Fox comes from a state where drivers pump their own gas, but admits the service is nice in Oregon. She also said she was almost stranded in Warm Springs because she was having trouble finding gas.

Driver Jon Schiel thinks the bill is an attack on jobs.

“It provides more jobs and the attendant can take care of everything that needs to be taken care of.” said Schiel.

The bills sponsor, Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, responded to those claims, telling KOIN 6 News, “If there is somebody present, then, you will provide service. So, the idea is not to rob people of their jobs, it’s to make sure fuel is available and will be available. So no, if the rest of the state decides to follow along, the issue of jobs will have to be addressed.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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