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Oregon rule allowing self-service gas extended 2 weeks

Pumping gas MGN

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Office of State Fire Marshal is extending by two weeks a temporary rules change that allows Oregon gas stations to provide self-service on a voluntary basis, in order to address shortages of workers experienced by gas retailers statewide.

The rules change was first announced on March 28, with an expiration date of April 11. On Friday, State Fire Marshal Jim Walker extended the deadline to April 25.

“We appreciate the patience of all Oregonians and businesses with this temporary suspension of rules, which now allow for self-service at Oregon gas stations,” said Walker. “These changes provide station operators flexibility to manage their operations and help to make refueling safer for both customers and service station attendants, while keeping stations open at a critical time when COVID-19 is impacting gas retailers who serve our many essential workers statewide.”

The change allows station attendants to help these customers while avoiding face-to-face, hand-to-hand contact. It also applies physical distancing measures. Attendants will continue to sanitize equipment and fuel nozzles and continue to help customers with their refueling as needed.

Self-service is not mandatory, but having it as an option allows some gas stations to continue their operations with less staff and allows Oregonians who have to travel to still drive without concern they may not be able to find gas.

Unattended self-service is permitted when a gas station owner exhausts all staffing options. Stations that do not have an attendant on duty are required to post safety signs for physical distancing and instructions showing customers how to operate a fuel pump correctly.

This extension of the self-service rules change does not affect areas of the state that are already authorized for self-service refueling under Oregon law.

Information about the extended rules change for self-service gasoline can be found on the OSFM website.

News release from the Oregon Fuels Association:

Self-service option provides relief to struggling fuel stations
88 percent of stations face workforce shortage due to pandemic
PORTLAND, Ore – April 10, 2020 – Locally-owned fuel stations applauded the flexibility that Governor Brown and the State Fire Marshal provided them today by extending self-service fueling options through the end of April.

“Like many small businesses, Oregon’s locally-owned fuel stations are facing incredible challenges,” stated Danelle Romain, a lobbyist representing the Oregon Fuels Association. “Keeping stations open by giving customers the option of pumping their own fuel is significant.”

In the wake of stay-at-home orders associated with COVID-19, many local stations face staffing shortages as attendants look to avoid direct, face-to-face contact associated with full-service fueling.

In a recent survey of their members, the Oregon Fuels Association says 88 percent of local station owners reported having employees unable to report to work or had resigned as a result of the pandemic. Three-fifths of them also reported that employees have asked to be removed from face-to-face interactions with customers.

Staffing crunches have meant stations around the state have reduced their hours of operation, with some closing up shop entirely.

“Like all of us, fuel attendants want to be able to follow orders around social distancing and keeping themselves safe,” Romain said. “The self-service option is allowing employees to shift their focus from close, face-to-face interaction with customers to keeping pumps and payment mechanisms clean and sanitized for the next customer.”

The State Fire Marshal’s order does not mandate that stations move to self-service. Rather, it lays out specific guidance for stations choosing to offer self-service options and specifies sanitation measures that stations must follow. It does not change Oregon law in counties already authorized to offer self-service to retail customers.

The Oregon Fuels Association is also quick to note that 90 percent of Oregon’s fuel stations are locally-owned. “This isn’t ‘big oil’ that we’re talking about here,” Romain said. “These are local station owners who employ local people and they want to do everything that they can to
protect them from this virus while providing fueling options to people in their community.”

The latest action by the Office of the State Fire Marshal extends the self-service order through April 25.


Oregon Fuels Association is the voice for Oregon’s locally-owned fuel stations and distributors. Representing hundreds of retail and commercial fuel stations and associated businesses across the state, OFA is a leading source of information, educational resources and advocacy within the industry.

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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