Oregon House passes self-serve gas bill on 47-10 vote, sending measure on to Senate
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Legislation that would allow Oregonians to pump their own gas, ending one of two such bans in the U.S., won strong Oregon House approval on a 47-10 vote Monday, sending it on to the Senate.
Here's a news release, in full, from a group that's been backing the move, Oregonians for Choice at the Pump:
The Oregon House today passed House Bill 2426 with overwhelming support, sending this bipartisan legislation to the Senate.
House Bill 2426 would give drivers a choice in how they fill up their vehicles at gas stations statewide. It strikes a balance between the needs of consumers, businesses and gas station employees by:
• Providing critical relief by easing staffing shortages for many small businesses;
• Ensuring access for elderly and disabled customers as well as for those who simply prefer for an attendant to pump their gas;
• Protecting existing jobs and access to fuel;
• Simplifying a complicated patchwork of rules that exist across the state.
“We all know about the workforce shortages,” said Rep. Shelly Boshart-Davis (R-Albany), one of the bill’s co-sponsors. “In committee, we heard from many local small-business owners about how they can’t find workers for these positions now. In fact, most likely you’ve experienced it as well: long lines at the gas station because pumps are roped off or cones are in front of pumps – because they don’t have enough staff to work them.”
“We should look for opportunities to help ease our labor shortages across industry sectors,” Boshart-Davis said. “This bill proposes to do just that.”
Rep. Julie Fahey (D-West Eugene, Veneta), who co-sponsored the bill with Boshart-Davis, described the complicated rules required at gas stations today. While drivers in some counties in Eastern Oregon and on the coast are allowed to pump their own gas, motorists in other counties are prohibited from doing the same.
A scooter owner herself, Fahey added that even if people with motorcycles are allowed to pump their own fuel, the law requires an attendant to hand her the pump, and she then must hand it back to the attendant when finished. HB 2426 simplifies this system.
She echoed sentiments about workforce shortages causing drivers to encounter long lines and closed pumps at gas stations in many areas.
“Giving stations the option to have some of those closed pumps be open as self-service would benefit consumers, station owners and workers,” Fahey said. “Personally, at the grocery store, I usually use the attended checkout lanes. But if there’s a long line and I’m in a hurry, and I only have a few items, I will go to the self-checkout lanes. I expect I will do the same thing with pumping my own gas. … Giving consumers a choice in this way just seems like common sense to me.”
Polling has consistently shown Oregonians prefer having the choice to pump their own gas or receive service from an attendant.
A January 2021 poll conducted by DHM Research found that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Oregonians support giving drivers the choice of whether to pump their own gas. Majority support existed across all age groups, political parties and regions of the state.
A survey conducted by The Nelson Report in October 2021 found even stronger support for a modified proposal providing a choice between self- and attendant-service fueling. The poll found that 68.8 percent of registered Oregon voters favor having a choice of both self- and attendant-service fueling options.
Under HB 2426:
• Gas stations would be required to offer attended service for the same price as self-service gas.
• Eastern Oregon counties would continue to be allowed to offer self-service gas, with Klamath and Umatilla Counties, along with coastal Clatsop, Curry and Tillamook Counties, also allowed to pump their own.
• Motorists would have the choice of self-service in other counties as well, although gas stations would be required to designate at least 50% of their pumps for attendant-provided service in the following counties: Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington and Yamhill.
For more information, please visit www.choiceatthepump.com.