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Bill could bring end to NJ ban on drivers pumping own gas

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TRENTON, NJ (WCBS 880) — New Jersey’s 73-year ban on pumping your own gas may be coming to an end.

A bill was introduced with bipartisan support in the Assembly on Monday afternoon that would allow gas stations to offer the option of full service or self service, and offer a discount to customers who pump their own gas.

New Jersey is the only state in the country that does not allow customers to pump their own gas. It has become a point of cultural pride, but now also a point of financial pain.

According to Sal Risalvato with the New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association, full-service gas stations have lead to higher prices and staffing issues.

“Right now there should be about a 15 cents a gallon savings for motorists that use self-serve pumps,” said Risalvato. “Whatever you see on the pump today take off 15 cents. I guarantee 15 cents, I think there’s going to be locations that will actually be higher.”

He calls the bill a fair compromise.

“People that want to have someone pump their gas can still have enough locations where they can have somebody pumped their own gas,” he said. “We think it’s more than about time that New Jersey changes its law.”

Risalvato insists it will not mean job losses, which had been a primary concern in past years, because stations are already dealing with staffing shortages.

“Because of the COVID pandemic it turned into a crisis and we cannot have enough employees to man the pumps right now,” Risalvato said.

He believes the bill would lead to more convenience for customers.

“We will still have a hard time filling those positions, but motorists won’t be inconvenienced anymore,” Risalvato said, explaining that orange cones blocking gas pumps at several stations “represent an employee that already does not exist.” “They can go over to one of those pumps that currently is blocked by an orange cone, pump their own gas, save 15 cents a gallon and be out the driveway before an attendant would’ve served them at another pump.”

The bill still mandates most stations provide some full service pumps, but New Jersey would no longer be the only state where pumping your own gas is illegal.

“To just satisfy a New Jersey culture, really, how much should we be spending for that New Jersey culture?” Risalvato argues.

The bill would also require a device to be installed for customers with disabilities to get help fueling up.

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