On Friday, August 4th, the Governor of Oregon signed a bill giving motorists the right to pump their own gas should they feel so inclined. The state ban against self-pump has been in effect since 1951. Arguments were made about the safety of customers around flammable liquids and slipping on rain-soaked oily concrete. There have been concessions over the years. Restrictions were eased for self-serve at night in rural communities and during the COVID pandemic labor shortage.

Living in Idaho, this idea of not being allowed to pump one’s own gas is a strange one. Most service stations don’t even offer full-service fill-ups any longer. The full-service gas station has become a nostalgic novelty, but perhaps Idaho is wrong. We are able to pump our own gas, of course, but should we?

Would Full-Service Fuel Attendants Be a Terrible Idea in Idaho?

What if, like grocery store shoppers refusing to use self-checkout, Idaho demanded a return to attendant fuel refills? Many shoppers won’t use self-checkout because they don’t work for the grocery store, and are supporting the workers of our nation. Couldn’t the same argument be used for pumping gas? There doesn’t need to be a ban on self-service, but bringing back full-service could be encouraged.

If Full-Service Fueling Returned to Idaho, Would Gas Prices Increase?

Some would say it could lead to increased gas prices because of paying for more workers. Where gas prices go, so goes the world, correct? Well, if gas prices would go up if we adopted a full-service, that would lend to the notion that Oregon should have a drop in prices since the ban lifted, correct?

But the gas prices in Oregon didn't go down when the ban was lifted. They went up. Before the bill was signed, gas was an average of $4.58 in Oregon. The following week it was $4.69 and 2 weeks later it was up to an average cost of $4.72 per gallon. Oregon still has a higher average gas price at $4, than the rest of the US.

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Maybe we should support workers. Those workers make a paycheck and use their income to support other workers in other industries. This is how the world keeps working. Employment is good for the economy. ‘Merica.

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