Self-Serve Gas Legislation Stalls in New Jersey

Llewellyn Jones says the law barring New Jersey drivers from pumping their own gas is "one of the dumbest on the books." Credits: John Mooney
Stephen Sweeney puts brakes on being able to pump your own gas in New Jersey.

TRENTON, NJ -- As we approach one of the biggest travel weekends on the calendar, New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D - West Deptford) has put the brakes on measure that would allow motorists to pump their own gas.  

In a phone interview with NJ 101.5 FM, Sweeney was pressed why he won't let the bill come up for a vote. The State Senate President asked rhetorically if the issue was the most important issue in New Jersey? 

"I haven't heard one person say this is a priority to them," said Sweeney, who believes the current way of doing things is working well. "People aren't clamoring for it."

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New Jersey's ban on self-service at gas stations dates back to 1949, when the Legislature passed the Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act. New Jersey and Oregon are the only states that prevent motorists from pumping their own gas.

At the Scotch Plains Township Council meeting on Tuesday evening, Councilman Llewellyn Jones made a rare commentary on a topic not on the meeting agenda.

"We don't typically talk about state issues, but I grew up in a state where you can pump your own gas. It's a massive inconvenience not to be able to pump your own gas, especially at night," Jones said.

"There are no good reasons for this law, other than some people who prefer the convenience of not having to pump their gas, and like that convenience to be subsidized by everyone else in New Jersey by way of higher gas prices and longer waits to fill up and even closed gas stations," Jones said in an interview with TAP into SPF.

"I wholeheartedly support giving people the option to pump their own gas. There are a lot of dumb laws on the books in New Jersey, but this is one of the dumbest," Jones added. "We'd be better off with all those gas station attendants out filling potholes, rather than filling our tanks while we just sit in our car (or in line, or driving around looking for a place to fill up)."

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