Oregon Comes To Illinois

About a year ago I was in Eugene, Oregon.  I was in town on business for about 4 days so I had a rental car. One of my guilty pleasures when I travel to a new city is to explore, and while in Oregon I went to the beach. Most people would never associate the state of Oregon with a beach, but it is on the West coast. I was even able to get some really nice pictures.

The drive from where I was in Eugene to the beach and back to my hotel took up about half a tank of gas.  Needless to say after a few days of driving around in the Northwest, I needed to add some fuel to my Chevy Tahoe rental.  So I loaded up Google maps, searched for the nearest gas station, and pulled up to fill up.

While I was pumping the gas, an employee came out of the gas station store.  Thinking nothing of it I said hello. He told me in a very calm and pleasant voice, “You aren’t allowed to do that.” 

“Do what?”, I asked.

“You can’t pump your own gas.”

I stood there with a half smile on my face waiting for him to start laughing. Much to my surprise he was serious. He went on to explain to me that the state of Oregon passed a law where citizens cannot pump their own gas. Only trained gas station attendant professionals are allowed to pump gas in the state of Oregon.  He further explained that it was basically a jobs bill that the state passed.

I immediately went online to make sure that I wasn’t being punked. Surely he just saw someone who wasn’t from the area and was taking advantage of me. But a quick Google search revealed that he was telling the truth.  Oregon’s ban on self-service gas pumps dates back to 1951, when the state was concerned about untrained pump operators spilling fuel. The state of Oregon did legalized self service of pumping gas in counties with 40,000 citizens or less.  According to www.infoplease.com New Jersey and Oregon are the only U.S. states that currently ban self-service gas stations. The purpose of these laws is to protect consumers and gas station owners from costly, and possibly deadly, accidents.

Good thing I live in good old Illinois. People in the midwest are common-sense folk. People have been pumping their own gas in their own cars in the great city of Chicago for decades.  We don’t have to worry about lawmakers bringing that coastal big brother government thinking to the Midwest. Right?

Not so fast. Illinois House Democrat Camille Y. Lilly filed HB4571 with the Illinois General Assembly earlier this month. The bill creates the Gas Station Attendant Act. The proposed act states that no gas may be pumped at a gas station in Illinois unless it is pumped by a gas station attendant employed at the gas station. If passed, it will go into effect January 1, 2021.

So every gas station will be full-service so we can create professional gas pumping technicians.  The roaring 20s are officially back. 

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