Why Is It Illegal to Pump Your Own Gas in New Jersey?
The Garden State distinguishes itself from other states for a variety of reasons. If you aren’t a resident of New Jersey or really haven’t spent much time traveling through the state, then this example of uniqueness might surprise you. Pumping your own gasoline in New Jersey is illegal. But, how and why is this happening?
Before we explain, you should know that New Jersey is the only state that doesn’t allow drivers to pump their own gas. Until quite recently, that wasn’t the case. Oregon just recently abolished a 64-year-old law that kept drivers from pumping their own gas. The reason for Oregon’s ban on self-serving gas pumps was to keep drivers from getting stranded in remote areas of the state after gas stations closed for the night and their employees went home. We aren’t kidding. It was a big problem because of the state’s expansive terrain.
But, let’s get back to the east coast. The banning of drivers using New Jersey gas pumps began in 1949 with the Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act and Regulations. This Act states that the ban is for drivers’ own good and declares:
“Because of the fire hazards directly associated with dispensing fuel, it is in the public interest that gasoline station operators have the control needed over that activity to ensure compliance with appropriate safety procedures, including turning off vehicle engines and refraining from smoking while fuel is dispensed.”
While safety should always be stressed at the gas pump, the root of this law still being in place today stems back to money. That is because when self-serving gas pumps came around, gas station owners charged lower prices if someone pumped their own gas. If you didn’t allow people to pump their own gas, you could charge more including potential costs of services.
New Jersey gas station owners didn’t want this to happen in their state, so they persuaded state officials to ban and outlaw self-service gas stations. While self-service pumps have spread throughout the country and have become the common practice for drivers and motorists nowadays, New Jersey has stayed firm in their stance.
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie once said in a 2011 interview, “People in New Jersey love the idea that they’ve got somebody to pump their gas,” adding, “I don’t see that changing.”
He’s not the only state official that shares that sentiment. Stephen Sweeney, President of the New Jersey Senate, said, “I will oppose any attempt to rescind the law that has effectively served the best interests of the state’s motorists for decades.”
Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone
If you have any questions about New Jersey law affecting your freedoms, contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone. We are glad to help you through any legal situation.