Gassing up in NJ – A Real Pain in the Pump!
What is one of my favorite parts of traveling out of state? Being able to pump my own gas. Sad that I look forward to that, but true.
48 of the states trust their residents enough to dispense their own fuel. New Jersey and Oregon stand alone on the pumping prohibition.
And it doesn't seem like that's going to change for us any time soon. As recently as last summer, Governor Christie said of self-service gas stations, "It's never going to happen".
I get that some people like to relax, not get their hands dirty, and let someone else breathe in the fumes. But personally, I hate that I can't get out of my car and do it myself.
Usually, when I'm stopping for gas, I want to get in, fill up, and get out. Some stations are better than others; Wawa and QuickChek employees usually do a pretty good job of getting you in and getting you out efficiently. But I've had nothing but bad experiences at the Monmouth Rest Area in particular.
This past weekend, I stopped to fill up on my way to the PNC Arts Center - When I pulled up to the pump, the pumps on the side that I parked on were all being used and the attendant was washing windows (which, don't get me wrong, is nice). Now, according to NJ law, I can't get out of my car and start the process. The attendant finished washing the windows of the car in front of me...then started washing the windows on another car (I was still waiting to begin gassing up).
While all of this was going on, by the way, an attendant at the next island over was sitting in his air conditioned booth. I guess you're only allowed to service vehicles on your own island.
Finally, after washing the windows of 3 vehicles, the attendant came over to start my pump.
When my tank was full and the pump loudly clicked off, the attendant was on the other side, walking towards my car...but kept walking. My windows were open, so I said, "I'm all set here".
He kept walking.
When he got to the other side of my car, I said again, "excuse me, I'm done, I'm all set".
He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "good for you, would you like a medal?" and kept walking.
At that point, I was boiling with frustration, so I did something that I've never done before...
I knowingly and purposefully broke the law.
That's right, I got out of my car, pulled the pump from my tank, replaced it, got back in my car, and left (I'd paid by credit card, so no, I didn't skip out on the bill).
Shockingly, I didn't blow anything up, I didn't cause a hazardous substance spill, and I didn't break the pump.
I'm sorry, but this law is ridiculous. And, frankly, a little insulting. Are we New Jerseyans not capable of safely operating a fuel pump? Tens of millions of Americans have the freedom to dispense their own gasoline, but no, not here in New Jersey.
Again, I get that some people like to have the filling-up process done for them, and most states have gas stations that offer self-serve as well as full-serve. And that's all well and good, but it would be nice to at least have the option here in the Garden State.
So what do you think, does the self-serve ban in NJ make sense, or is it time to let us pump our own gas? Let us know in the comments section!