Self-serve gas won’t be making its way to NJ anytime soon

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Self-serve gas won’t be making its way to NJ anytime soon

Photo courtesy of nj.com

Photo courtesy of nj.com

Photo courtesy of nj.com

Photo courtesy of nj.com

Currently, there are only two states in the entire nation that do not allow drivers to pump their own gas. New Jersey and Oregon are the two; however, both states have a bill pending that would change this for good.

State lawmakers in The Garden State have recently proposed to reinstate an old act known as New Jersey’s 1949 Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act that would decriminalize self-serve pumping stations throughout the entire state.

The pending legislation allows for a three-year transition period where gas stations must provide one full-serve island until the period ends. At that point every gas station in the state will be completely self-serve.

Despite the fact that this piece of legislation is currently pending, it does not look like it will be enacted in the near future because the New Jersey Senate President by the name of Stephan Sweeney has the power to introduce bills. However, it just so happens that he strongly opposes self- serve gas stations.

According to NJ.com Sweeney stated, “Full service is a matter of convenience and especially important to the disabled, senior citizens and others who would find it difficult or impossible to operate gas pumps.”

NJ.com also points out that he later confirms his opposition to the legislation by saying, “We’ve been doing it the right way in New Jersey. We should not change.”

Sweeney made it clear that as long as he remains president of the New Jersey Senate, a piece of legislation calling for self-serve gas stations in the state will not be passed.

However, Senate Budget Chairman Paul Sarlo feels the topic must be discussed sooner rather than later. He points out that next year the Senate will be negotiating the funding of the Transportation Trust Fund. Sarlo tells NJ.com, “We know we’re going to have to consider some type of transportation user fee, and self-serve gas would lessen the impact of the inevitable increase.”

Despite the fact that many believe there is a clear need to simply discuss this legislation, it does not look like Senate President Sweeney is willing to budge. So for now, it seems as if the bill does not even have a chance to reach the floor for discussion.

Sweeney and his fellow supporters of full-serve gas stations agree with the text of the 1949 law, which is currently in place. The bill cites that self-serve gas has “significant inconveniences and dangers, including the risks of crime and fall-related personal injury, which are a special burden to drivers with physical infirmities, such as the handicapped and some senior citizens.”

Furthermore, the current New Jersey gas law provides the state with numerous job opportunities. Many believe that the labor cost causes the price of gas to rise. However, this point can easily be refuted because the state has the second lowest gas tax in the nation and a lower overall gas price in comparison with its neighboring states.

Both full-serve and self-serve gas stations have their advantages, but it looks as if The Garden State will remain in the minority and stay a full-serve state.

 

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