Some lawmakers pushing for New Jersey drivers to be able to pump own gas

The bill would allow stations to offer self-serve, but stations with more than four pumps would be required to offer full service.
TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- It's controversial to say the least and it's a topic met with passion: pumping gas in New Jersey.

New Jersey is the only state in the country that does not allow its drivers to pump their own gas, while Oregon has some restrictions.

That may come to an end, however, with a new proposal to allow self-service as an option as gas prices surge due to inflation and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Introduced in the NJ legislature, A3105 - dubbed the Motorist Fueling Choice and Convenience Act - is a bipartisan measure that would allow residents the option to pump their own gas or continue with full-serve from an attendant.

The bill's sponsors include Assemblywoman Carol A. Murphy (D) of Burlington County.

Following the introduction, members of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store, Automotive Association (NJGCA), whose membership includes nearly 1,000 small business motor fuel retailers, came out in support of the bill.

"The current law that does not allow for self-serve is crippling my small business," NJGCA President and gas station owner Joe Ocello said. "When I got into the business years ago, it was a great way to make a living, a pathway to the American dream. But increasing prices and labor shortages are making it more and more difficult to run a gas station."

The bill would allow gas stations to offer the option of self-serve, though stations with more than four dispensers would still be required to continue offering full service.

"I can guarantee that allowing for a self-serve option will save motorists, who exercise their right to choose, money at the gas pump," said Kashmir Gill, NJGCA member and owner of multiple locations in Central Jersey. "As a station owner, I know that the self-serve option will bring my businesses significant cost savings that I can pass along to my customers."

Congress passed a statute in 1949 entitled the Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act that banned self-serve gas, citing safety concerns like fire hazards. New Jersey is currently the only state that maintains the law and requires a gas station employee to pump.

"I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep my gas stations open due to the labor shortages, significantly impacting my business," said Levent Sertbas, NJGCA member and gas station owner. "There have been multiple instances where I have had to close midday because I cannot find attendants to work the gas pumps."
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.