If you want to pump your own gas in Oregon, you may soon have a chance.
The State House passed House Bill 2426 to expand access to self-service at gas stations. It moved to the Senate where it had its first reading Tuesday.
Customers at the Arco on Third Street in Bend had mixed feelings on the legislature.
“Being from Indiana originally, I’m pretty used to pumping my own gas,” says Clay. “I thought it was a little weird to have someone pump my gas for me.”
Steven Heddleston, a longtime resident, says “I’m opposed to it. Weather stuff like that, I’m 67 years old. It’s not getting any easier. I have to do it when I go out of state and I don’t see any benefits for me.”
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The bill also has some gas attendants worried their job may be on the line.
“We’re out here every day. We hustle, we bustle. Like I run around like a chicken with my head cut off out here,” says Heather Silbaugh, a gas attendant at Arco. “It would just suck if, you know, if my jobs and everybody else’s jobs were taken.”
HB 2426 is focused on making sure the state’s gas laws are on the same page.
For 16 counties, it would be a 50-50 split between self-serve and full serve. An attendant would still need to be present in some form.
“You could either self-serve or you could have somebody in attendance or for you,” said Alison Green, Public Affairs Director with the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office (OSFM). Gas pumping and gas regulations fall under OSFM’s authority.
“There will be 20 counties in Oregon where self-serve can happen 100% of the time,” Green added. Many of those 20 counties are in rural areas where self-serve gas pumping is already allowed.
OSFM is keeping a close eye and says this bill gives their office more flexibility compared to last year’s version.
“It would’ve been much harsher enforcement, so there were definitely significant impacts that we assessed,” says Green.
HB 2426 also gives the Fire Marshal’s Office a grace period to enforce regulations and penalties if it passes. That date won’t be set until March 2024.