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Author Topic: Pumping Gas in Oregon
kmcm
We Three Blings


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Does anyone know why you are not allowed to pump your own gasoline in Oregon? I've heard several different theories, but I just wondered if anyone on here knew.

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Of course this land is dangerous! All of the animals are capably murderous. Especially the penguins.

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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Can't help you out except to say that it's the same in New Jersey.

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Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
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betabox
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Just a wild guess from an avowed cynic, but could it be that your politicians and lawmakers (like most of them throughout history) have been heavily influenced by people in whose best interest it is to keep the profits up by keeping attendants busily employed?
-bb

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24K_ Kate
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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This link provides some information.
quote:
Issue: Oregon is the only state in which WSPA member companies market with outright restrictions on self-serve at gas stations.

What WSPA Says:

When self-service refueling conforms to nationally recognized safety standards adopted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA-30, 1969, and later editions,) consumer preferences should drive the mix of full and self-serve without government intervention.

Background:

Only two states in the nation -- Oregon and New Jersey -- currently have an outright prohibition on self-serve gasoline sales. Their argument is twofold: first, that the volatile nature of gasoline requires respect and care when refueling; and second, there is an unfounded fear of an unacceptable danger to the public if unskilled consumers are able to dispense their own gas.

As previously stated, this fear is unfounded. In fact, the insurance industry makes no distinction in risk between self-service and full-serve outlets when assessing the risk of all human activities. Moreover, self-service is statistically safer by a substantial margin than attendant-serve outlets.

Opposition to self-serve has come from a small percentage of consumers, particularly older people and the disabled who require full-service assistance. The industry recognizes the legitimate concerns of these groups and is willing to work to ensure the availability of full-service at retail outlets. A complete ban on self-serve, on the other hand, is unfair restraint of trade, ignores the wants of the majority, and puts retailers in those

24kKate

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meanjelly
Happy Holly Days


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One reason is to stop it now would mean to cut a ton of jobs.

2. There is a large anti-pumping lobby. Not ask why but there is.

Hell when i moved here I wondered why you can legally kill yourself but you cant pump gas, oh well.

BTW, gas is no more expensive here then anywere else which is another reason why the law wont change. People are not willing to stand in the cold rain to save 2 cents a gallon.

ETA:
quote:
ignores the wants of the majority
Oregonians for what even reason have voted to keep full serve gas on many different occasions. In fact I would bet every four years it is brought directly to the voters and it fails. Here in Oregon we can vote directly for laws by-passing the legislator.

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The One True Marc
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quote:
Originally posted by meanjelly:

BTW, gas is no more expensive here then anywere else which is another reason why the law wont change. People are not willing to stand in the cold rain to save 2 cents a gallon.


What, Oregon hasn't heard of overhangs? That's one of those things that always gets me when I hear the argument that 'it's not convenient for me to stand in the rain to pump gas'. Every gas station I've ever been to from Central New York to Washington, D.C. has had a roof over the gas pumps, so that argument's invalid.

As for the cold, given that you can have pumps pump by themselves and stop automatically, there's no reason you have to remain outside of your car while pumping. You can even pre-pay a certain amount, and the pump will stop when it reaches that amount.

M"the bathroom's too far away, too"arc

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meanjelly
Happy Holly Days


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You don’t have to tell me I grew up outside DC and only moved here when I was 23, I was just giving you the argument that they make here.

I however tend to agree with the reasoning of why should we pass a law, put thousands of people out of work, and do it ourselves when there is no reason to do so.

Also keep in mind if a state with the highest unemployment can really afford to put more people in the job market.

So I think the basic argument for this law is, if it is not broke why fix. The basic argument against it is, it will save you money at the pump. Must people see that the prices in the surrounding states are about the same and discount this argument. Therefore until the Con people come up with a convincing argument against this law I do not ever see it changing even though most people think it is a silly law.

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Education... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.
G. M. Trevelyan (1876 - 1962), English Social History (1942)

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Sparverius, the feathered serpent
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quote:
Originally posted by betabox:
Just a wild guess from an avowed cynic, but could it be that your politicians and lawmakers (like most of them throughout history) have been heavily influenced by people in whose best interest it is to keep the profits up by keeping attendants busily employed?
-bb

Umm, betabox, I assume that the people you're referring to are the stations themselves? If so, why on Earth would they want to pressure the state to pass laws that would keep them from reducing staff? In my own area, nearly all stations have gone self-serve, because it saves the station-owners money. Their "best interest" is more self-service, not less.

If you're implying that the State of Oregon is heavily influenced by the minimum-wage gas-pumpers who would otherwise lose their jobs, I think that is a heart-warming (if unlikely) scenario.

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Ursa Major
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quote:
Originally posted by Sparverius, the feathered serpent:


If you're implying that the State of Oregon is heavily influenced by the minimum-wage gas-pumpers who would otherwise lose their jobs, I think that is a heart-warming (if unlikely) scenario.

They may, however be influenced by the prospect of adding thousands of barely employable people to the unemployment and welfare rolls.

Still, I wonder how Oregon stations keep their prices in line with neighboring states. California's gasoline taxes are only a few cents higher and WA and ID's are actually lower. Is there some sort of state labor subsidy involved or has does the industry just happily operate with a smaller profit margin?

The only thing I can think of is that Oregon's notoriously low (and strictly enforced) speed limits takes a big enough bite out of demand to lower prices.

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Neesie
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I've lived in Oregon most of my life and have always defended our no self-serve law. The big argument is always "the price will go down". NFBSK! Won't happen. We have some of the highest prices in the entire country and I guarantee they wouldn't drop a penny. It would put thousands out of work too. We have an unemployment rate higher than the national rate. 8% at the moment. It just wouldn't make any sense to put all those people out of work just for "self-serve". We still have to get out of the car to pay if you have cash. I've been to other states where I had to pump it myself and liked coming home to no-pump Oregon.

Nee "keep Oregon no self-serve" sie [Wink]

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Warlok
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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No proof to offer besides what a gas-pumper told me there one time when I asked... He said one of the biggest reasons for no self-serve(alluded to above) was environmental. To pump gas in OR, supposedly you have to actually be "trained." I suspect it's very little, but the rationale is that you are less likely to spill that evil petrochemical and contaminate the pristine OR environment. They also do not have the little thingees to keep the pump going... the guy has to stand there and hold it the whole time, again, the rational is to prevent accidental spillage. Apparently they have some matching laws about how a spill is supposed to be cleaned up, and I guess it involves more than a little kitty litter and abroom. I did notive that the concrete at gas stations in OR was a lot cleaner than many other I had seen...

War 'wonder if its all true' lok

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unsocialannie
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I have a dumb question so trout me... [fish]

What if you want gas for your lawn mower? Do the attendants pump the gas into your portable container? I also want to know what is going to keep me from pouring/spilling it all over the ground[environment] when I get it home? [Roll Eyes]

unsocial"I bet OR's idea of a B-rated horror flick is some freak running around spraying gasoline out of spray bottles!"annie

God, I'm terrible!

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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I forgot to mention; the guy in NJ who pumped my gas said it was a safety thing.

That makes perfect sense. Gasoline is very dangerous stuff and readily available. A simple law to restrict who can pump it makes perfect sense.

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Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
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BoKu
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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
...That makes perfect sense. Gasoline is very dangerous stuff and readily available. A simple law to restrict who can pump it makes perfect sense.

Plastics can also be very dangerous. We should also have certification and licensing for anyone who handles plastic objects.

Bob "fell of bicycle, but didn't drown" K.

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by BoKu, thymed out:
quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
...That makes perfect sense. Gasoline is very dangerous stuff and readily available. A simple law to restrict who can pump it makes perfect sense.

Plastics can also be very dangerous. We should also have certification and licensing for anyone who handles plastic objects.

Bob "fell of bicycle, but didn't drown" K.

Okay then, I'll smoke around my tupperware, you do it next time you pump gas. We'll meet back here to discuss your injuries in 24 hours.

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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Ursa Major
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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
Okay then, I'll smoke around my tupperware, you do it next time you pump gas. We'll meet back here to discuss your injuries in 24 hours.

As a former (full service) pump jocky I can assure you that gasoline isn't nearly as dangerous as you're implying.

One of our favorite tricks was to put out a cigarette in a cup of gasoline (that's the sort of thing high school boys think will impress the girls.) I've also seen gas spills (when the tanker driver tries to put 1500 gallons of gas into a 1000 gallon holding tank.) flowing down a busy street durng rush hour. When it's cold there are no fumes to ignite. When it's hot, the gas quickly evaporates and disipates. That's why we have to build expensive machines (engines) that create just the right conditions for ignition.

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DaHoop
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Being born and raised in Central Oregon, I always found it odd that all the other states would "force" you to pump your own gas. Being able to roll down your window, tell the high school drop-out to "fill it up" and then roll it back up and enjoy the warmth inside your car is a small pleasure I still remember every time I fill up in my new (and rather wet) home of the Olympic Penninsula.

One point I'd like to make though, is that's it's not completely illegal to pump your own gas there. Pacific Pride has a number of stations in the NW and if you have a card of theirs, you can pump your own. It's primarily for business owners and such, but there are ways anybody can get one. The upside was, they billed you monthly so if you were short of cash, you didn't have to put it on your interest bearing credit card and the price was about the same. The down side was, of course, you had to GET OUT YOUR CAR! Oh, the horrors!!

Anyway, I don't know if I made a point there or not, just wanted to throw my 2cents in as an Oregonian.

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Warlok
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quote:
Originally posted by Ursa Major:

One of our favorite tricks was to put out a cigarette in a cup of gasoline (that's the sort of thing high school boys think will impress the girls[/QB]

Let's not go out for a beer and see what else you may have thought was fun [Razz]

Just kidding, I understand your point, but it's a pretty dangerous one for nyone that does not know the ignition temperature or the evaporation conditions. I'll stick to smoking around tupperware myself - and I don't smoke. Thsi is like saying that since you can lick a battery and live, someone may get lucky and touch the 10,000v line and live...

War 'sorry, no roulette for me' lok

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Robigus, Frozen Mushroom
The First USA Noel


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I was wondering about this, as I understand that the profit margins for most station owners is pretty small, and the cost of keeping pump monkeys on duty would eat into profits. I wonder if perhaps station owners don't fight this because, by have someone else pump the gas for the driver, the driver is then free to enter the station and shop for stuff that he or she might otherwise not have if they pumped their own and just ran in to pay. Since there is a higher profit margin on snacks and other items sold by the station, it might actually be better for the owner to stay with the arrangement.
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Atlanta Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by Ursa Major:

One of our favorite tricks was to put out a cigarette in a cup of gasoline (that's the sort of thing high school boys think will impress the girls.)

This is not because Gasoline is "Not that flamable", this is because of something called a Flamable Range... basically it did not ignite because there was not enough air (oxygen) NOT because of a lack of vapors!

quote:
I've also seen gas spills (when the tanker driver tries to put 1500 gallons of gas into a 1000 gallon holding tank.) flowing down a busy street durng rush hour. When it's cold there are no fumes to ignite.

Your joking, right? according to this Material Safety Data sheet the flash point (the temperature at which it gives off sufficient vapor to form an ignitable mixture with air) is -40 F!! Exactly how cold does it get where you live anyway?

quote:
When it's hot, the gas quickly evaporates and disipates.
And exactly what is created while the Gasoline is evaporating? (all together now!...) Vapors!

quote:
That's why we have to build expensive machines (engines) that create just the right conditions for ignition.
Engines are not built to create ideal conditions for igniting gasoline! what an odd concept. They are built to turn the enrgy of burning gasoline into mechanical energy. That would be like saying that radios were created to use electricity!

As for your trick with the cigatretts and the gasoline... Where I live there are churches in which the attendees handle rattle snakes and drink strychnine with no appearent ill effects... but that does not mean that rattle snakes and strychnine are not poisonous, does it?

Did you say you had the safety class?... Did you stay awake?

Atlanta "... 5 out of 6 people survive a game of Russian roulette too! "Jake

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Muck
The First USA Noel


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My word! So, here's the deal. The post above that mentioned that this topic has been on the ballot regularly is quite accurate. When I moved here in the '70s the argument was from the station owners who were against customers pumping their own gas. They spent a lot of money lobbbying against self serve, using the safety argument to scare us poor booger eating morons to allow the gas jockeys to pump for us.

As time passed, the oil companies switched sides, and now they want to get the voters to allow self-serve. Of course, this will increase oil company profits, but nobody here can be convinced that gas will be cheaper with self serve. It's not the case in Washington or California, so why would it be the case here? Silly oil companies.

One of the reasons we get gas reasonably priced is the terminals at the Port of Portland. This allows foreign and domestic (Alaska) gas to come into the state. Another good driving deal is our inexpensive registrations running around $20 a year. Our roads are turning to crap, but driving is a pretty inexpensive proposition compared to our neighbors north and south (whose roads are also turning to crap).

Muck

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Sparverius, the feathered serpent
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quote:
Originally posted by Ursa Major:
As a former (full service) pump jocky I can assure you that gasoline isn't nearly as dangerous as you're implying.

One of our favorite tricks was to put out a cigarette in a cup of gasoline (that's the sort of thing high school boys think will impress the girls.) I've also seen gas spills (when the tanker driver tries to put 1500 gallons of gas into a 1000 gallon holding tank.) flowing down a busy street durng rush hour. When it's cold there are no fumes to ignite. When it's hot, the gas quickly evaporates and disipates. That's why we have to build expensive machines (engines) that create just the right conditions for ignition.

That sound you hear is a safety trainer dying a little....

As mentioned above, gasoline fumes can ignite at any temperature about -40 Celsius. Quick evaporation makes it even worse, since you now have a large, invisible cloud of vapours. Now, gas stations don't blow up on a regular basis (although they do blow up OCCASIONALLY) because the vapours are not in a confined area. The wind blows in fresh air, and blows away the vapours before they reach a flammable level.

The trick with the cigarette in the gasoline will work, if you know what you're doing. It's not relevant to a gas station on a hot, windless day.

What the relevance of the 1000 gallons of gasoline flowing down the street is, is anyone's guess. Provide an ignition source, it will ignite. Period.

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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Hey Ursa, I can look deep into your future and tell you what you're last words will most likely be:

"Watch this." [Wink]

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

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Ursa Major
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quote:
Originally posted by Sparverius, the feathered serpent:
What the relevance of the 1000 gallons of gasoline flowing down the street is, is anyone's guess. Provide an ignition source, it will ignite. Period.

Both times (yes, it happened twice) the gas was flowing under moving cars.

I'm not saying the potential for disaster doesn't exist with gasoline, but that such disasters are extremely rare considering how omnipresent the stuff is and no matter what kind of fools are allowed to handle it.

quote:
Did you say you had the safety class?...
No. Why would you assume I did? (Not to mention, you're confusing me with the dumb 17 year old who occupied this body 23 years ago.)

Safety class?
Who's joking now?
Obviously, you have no experience working in a typical American service station. More time is devoted to making sure you know how to maintain a sqeegy and make change for a twenty then is spent telling what that liquid stuff is that comes out of the pump.

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Neesie
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I have a dumb question so trout me... [fish]

What if you want gas for your lawn mower? Do the attendants pump the gas into your portable container? I also want to know what is going to keep me from pouring/spilling it all over the ground[environment] when I get it home? [Roll Eyes]

unsocial"I bet OR's idea of a B-rated horror flick is some freak running around spraying gasoline out of spray bottles!"annie


Yes, if you want to fill up a container, they have to do it for you. Pretty silly, but oh well. I used to get my gas from our fire station and really liked the convienience of not having to wait in a line at the gas station.


They also do not have the little thingees to keep the pump going... the guy has to stand there and hold it the whole time, again, the rational is to prevent accidental spillage.

Not true. The nozzles have the lock that keeps it going. That way the attendant can start several at one time. Most stations only have 1 or 2 people running 4 islands and they bust their butts. My hubby did it for a living as a young man and hated when they were short handed.

I ride a motorcycle and they just hand you the nozzle and you do it yourself. I wish I had a center-stand so I could get off of the bike while pumping the gas. The nozzles have a boot that slides back when you put it in the gas tank. When filling a cycle tank, you have to use your hand to hold it back. Arrgh! It's not easy holding that thing back. Only once have I tried self-immolation. I was letting it fill too fast and it really splashed back. It went all over the engine which was nice and hot from my 10 mile ride. I got really lucky. Scared the crap out of me.
I have been reading quite a bit on how easy it is to start a fire at the pump. I guess you can actually get enough of a spark from a cell phone or from touching your car and getting a shock. The cell phone thing came out on a bulletin here at work warning our drivers to be careful when they are filling up. The finger shock is actually pretty scary. I watched a video of some poor lady who went up in flames. Good Lord. [Eek!] I never knew it was that easy to start the fumes from such a small spark.

Nee "fill-er-up with unleaded please" sie

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Ursa Major
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Tsk Tsk
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abby 68
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Sounds like a great way to put people to work, under cetain circumstances.
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BoKu
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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
Okay then, I'll smoke around my tupperware, you do it next time you pump gas. We'll meet back here to discuss your injuries in 24 hours.

Let me try again.

The idea that "there oughta be a law" to protect everyone from everything that is remotely dangerous presumes some sort of moral authority over, or perhaps even ownership of, the governed by those governing. I find it repugnant in the extreme. I happen th beileve in evolution in action.

Further, I take issue with your implied sentiment that since I disagree with legislated safety, that I am driven by strange compulsions to do foolhardy things like mixing gasoline and open flame. Assertions like that have no place in reasonable discourse.

Bob K.

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Neesie
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It's funny that snopes has debunked the cell phone thing, yet our safety department has sent out a bulletin on it. They actually have an official word on this from the Dallas Field Division of the ATF(Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). I've got the bulletin right here in front of me and they say they got the warning from Shell Oil Company. They said they have 3 official incidents. In all 3, the phones rang while the person was pumping the gas. One in a pocket, one on the trunk of the car and one as they answered it. They also mention the danger of static electricity. That one came from Pat Cabiling from Chevron Texaco's Richmond Refinery.
If the ATF has been fooled, than shame, shame.

Nee "wonders who to believe" sie

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The One True Marc
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One more point to add fuel to the flame: In New York (as the story goes), full-serve was done away with because people were sick of having to pay tips on top of paying for the gas. Unlike waiters in a restaurant, a gas attendant is doing a job that most people are perfectly capable of doing themselves. Why then, should they have to pay extra if they don't want to?

Before people bring up handicapped and elderly, let me say I'm not suggesting that full-serve states go to the other extreme-i.e., it's illegal to have full-serve stations. Instead, I think it should be a choice left up to the customer. When you pull into a gas station, and you're approached by a gas station attendant, let them know whether you want/need them to pump for you.

This way, people accustomed to, or in need of someone to pump their gas for them can still have their gas jockeys, while those of us who believe that pumping gas does not require even a high school diploma can still show off our fueling prowess.

Any thoughts?

M"I'm gonna pump you up"arc

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BeachLife
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quote:
Originally posted by BoKu, thymed out:
quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
Okay then, I'll smoke around my tupperware, you do it next time you pump gas. We'll meet back here to discuss your injuries in 24 hours.

Let me try again.

The idea that "there oughta be a law" to protect everyone from everything that is remotely dangerous presumes some sort of moral authority over, or perhaps even ownership of, the governed by those governing. I find it repugnant in the extreme. I happen th beileve in evolution in action.

Further, I take issue with your implied sentiment that since I disagree with legislated safety, that I am driven by strange compulsions to do foolhardy things like mixing gasoline and open flame. Assertions like that have no place in reasonable discourse.

Bob K.

A simple law about who/how a dangerouse substance is dispensed isn't the same as:

"there oughta be a law" to protect everyone from everything that is remotely dangerous

So let's talk reasonable discourse, you go first.

--------------------
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Jack Dragon, On Being a Dragon
Confessions of a Dragon's scribe
Diary of my Heart Surgery

Posts: 12094 | From: Michigan | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Tootsie Plunkette
Buy a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella


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^Mmm, gas fumes!

When we make a trip down to Portland, we fill up the tank in Vancouver, either just before we cross the border or on our way home, depending on how close to empty we are as we get there.

I don't know if we save or lose any money, it just really irritates my husband that he can't pump his own gas in Oregon.

--------------------
--Tootsie

Posts: 5017 | From: Greater Seattle | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
BoKu
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by BeachLife:
A simple law...

I happen to believe that there are no simple laws, at least not of the legislative kind. Now, gravity, thermodynamics, and entropy, those are simple.

quote:
...about who/how...
Which is it? I decline to recognize "/" as a valid conjunction.

quote:
...a dangerouse substance...
The technology for dispensing gasoline is very mature and has a good safety record, even when used by the general public. That safety record refutes the assertion that gasoline is particularly dangerous.

Bob "" K.

Posts: 2079 | From: California | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
evilbeth
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by The One True Marc:
Before people bring up handicapped and elderly, let me say I'm not suggesting that full-serve states go to the other extreme-i.e., it's illegal to have full-serve stations. Instead, I think it should be a choice left up to the customer. When you pull into a gas station, and you're approached by a gas station attendant, let them know whether you want/need them to pump for you.

This way, people accustomed to, or in need of someone to pump their gas for them can still have their gas jockeys, while those of us who believe that pumping gas does not require even a high school diploma can still show off our fueling prowess.

Any thoughts?

That system seems to work pretty well around here. Those who have difficulty getting in and out of the vehicle can choose full serve and those who want can choose self-serve. Not complicated. I chose full serve for a few weeks after my C-section and it was nice to not have to get in and out.
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unsocialannie
The Red and the Green Stamps


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...along the lines of evilbeth's[love that name by the way] post: I am weird in that I like to pump my own gas[and I am female]. I don't mind if my husband pumps gas for me, but I just don't like the thought of a complete stranger pumping my gas. I have seen "pump jockeys", as someone called them earlier, lean on people's vehicles(rivets in blue jeans/pants can leave scratches on a vehicle) or spill gas down the side. My husband and I even witnessed a "pump jockey" pumping gas for a customer with a LIT [Eek!] cigarette hanging out of his mouth - no lie! My mother, on the other hand, can't stand to pump her own gas and always uses full-service. I don't have a problem with full-service pumps or stations, but that just isn't for me.
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