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Ever Wonder Why You Can’t Pump Your Own Gas in New Jersey or Oregon?

January 14, 2015

Many car owners take pride in caring for their vehicles. These people enjoy washing and waxing their cars in the driveway, changing the oil, and replacing worn parts. If you consider yourself a motor head, you might feel a twinge of irritation whenever you cross the border into Oregon or New Jersey, where it’s illegal to pump your own gas.

What’s the deal? you might ask. Are people in Oregon and New Jersey less intelligent than people in other states? In fact, intelligence has nothing to do with it. Though self-serve gas stations are now the norm, they were nonexistent when cars first came on the scene. The first self-serve station didn’t open until 1947.

New Jersey and Oregon banned self-serve stations in 1949 and 1951 to stem the terrifying, earth-shattering trend of pumping one’s own gas. The states’ legislatures cited the safety hazards of petroleum as grounds for their respective bans. Apparently fuel nozzles are better off in the hands of teenagers. If you get caught trying to pump your own gas in Oregon today, you might get hit with a $500 fine.

You can balk at Oregon and New Jersey’s bans on self-service, but many residents in these states enjoy sitting in their cars while someone else does the work—especially on cold winter nights or hot summer days. Also, full-service gas stations really do improve safety and create thousands of jobs in Oregon and New Jersey. Gas station attendant may not be a deeply fulfilling vocation, but it comes with a steady paycheck.

Even if it’s sometimes absurd and archaic, the law’s the law, and all citizens are obligated to walk the line. Still, that doesn’t mean you should give up when faced with absurd charges. For help with legal matters in the Tucson area, turn to criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler.

This article is part of a collection of The Most Ridiculous Laws in the United States! Some of these laws are downright hard to believe. Do you know what might be illegal in your state?