Smith + Schwartzstein
Located In Morristown, NJ and New York, NY

New Jersey, where getting your own gas is illegal

At the beginning of this year, Oregon passed a new law allowing rural counties, a county with less than 40,000 inhabitants to have self-service gas pumps. New Jersey is the only state that is still entirely staffed with attendants to pump gas for drivers. Even though New Jersey is hanging on tight to right to have someone else fill their tanks that could change with the introduction of a new bill.

Origins of the law

The ban on self-service gas stations in The Garden State started in 1949 with the introduction of the Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act. Enacted to serve as a way to keep consumers safe, many New Jersey natives have never needed to pump their gas.

  • Airborne toxins
  • Fire hazards
  • Service to the elderly and disabled
  • Inability to enforce safety standards
  • Lack of maintenance checks

Will it ever happen?

Many in support of the legislation say gasoline could be several cents cheaper if it were not required to pay the staff to dispense petroleum. The other side of the debate takes into consideration the number of jobs lost should the bill pass. Stephen M. Sweeney, president of the State Senate, takes the stance, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” He sees no reason to change a system that has worked successfully for the last 70 years.


While Jersey has other claims to fame, having not to pump their own gas is one luxury that makes them uniquely proud. A Rutgers University poll found that three-quarters of the state’s residents preferred to have their gas pumped from them. Further, the survey cited when regarding gender, 84% of female New Jersyans prefer not to get their hands dirty. Luckily for the citizens of New Jersey, it looks like self-service pumps are still just a distant, messy nightmare.

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