New Jersey citizens may want to pump their own gas… if it lowers prices

In New Jersey, we do a lot of things ourselves. One thing we do not do however, is pump our own gas, as it is against the law here to do so. It was made illegal to self-serve at a gas station in New Jersey in 1949, and two state appellate decisions upheld the law. In 2006, then governor Jon Corzine had pushed for a test of self-serve stations to see how they would fare on the NJ Turnpike, but to no avail. His biggest opposition? Not gas companies and the auto industry, but the public.

In years past, the full-service gas station was part of a neighborhood garage, but that trend shifted as ‘big oil’ got into the retail business. Well ‘big oil’ is retreating, but the spots are not being filled by the local mechanic of yesteryear. Instead, it is large chains of convenient stores, often equipped with self-serve pumps that are taking the market over. One such location owner, Bikram Gill, says that he could slash prices by about 8 cents per gallon with self-service at his stations. New Jersyians however, still have no desire.

In a state where gas prices are third lowest in the nation and no one pumps their own gas, who would want such a change? Drivers at New Jersey pumps are not begging for cheaper prices, so why concede the convenience?

As a New Jersey resident my entire adult life, I can say with full-certainty that full-service in this state is a good thing. Especially the way it is now. People from surrounding states always make sure to fill up while here because chances are the gas is cheaper here than at home. But there is another important reason. No it is not some nostalgic yearning for the gas jockey of old; it is one thing this country is lacking in a major way right now; JOBS. Countless teenagers and unskilled workers are able to find a way to earn a living wage at those pumps, and if we can still keep the prices as low as they are, it is crucial that we keep those jobs available.

– By: Stephen Calogera

Source: Wall Street Journal