Speaking of gas cars, it only took 72 years, but Oregon drivers can finally pump their own gas without having to wait for the increasingly rare gas station attendant to do it for them. And to pay more.
Back in the 1950s, Oregon lawmakers outlawed self-serve. As with many dubious regulations, it was justified on safety grounds. Drivers were supposedly at “increased risk of personal injury resulting from slipping on slick surfaces” and an “increased risk of crime.” (How many people do you know who have been injured pumping their own gas?) In reality, some smaller station owners just wanted to block bigger stations from offering discounts for motorists pumping their own gas.
Today, unions are the big opponents of consumer choice with one implausibly claiming self-serve will be a “blatant cash grab for large corporations.” They were able to water down the reform by requiring that half the pumps at every station must still be full-service.
New Jersey now stands alone in mandating full-service gas-pumping, with its ban going into effect back in 1949.
Of course, in a few years, it will all be moot because we won’t be allowed to pump ANY gas into our cars – and now you will have to wait hours to charge up. This is progress?