Why can't you pump your own gas in Oregon?

EUGENE, Ore. - When you need a fill up in Oregon, find a gas station and pull up - but don't think of picking up the pump.

"It's on the bottom of your birth certificate: I will never pay sales tax and I will never pump my own gas," said Gordon Zimmeran, city administrator of Oakridge. "You didn't know that?"

Oregon and New Jersey are the only two states in the country where drivers can be fined up to a thousand dollars for pumping their own gas.

And while many Oregonians don't know why the law exists, they give their best guesses.

"In theory it was because of safety concerns?" said Casey Wilson, owner of an ARCO station in Springfield.

"Probably because it gives people jobs?" ventured Richie Escalante of Springfield.

"This is weird," said Rickie Stone, visiting Oregon from New York City. "In New York, we don't do this. In New York, we pump our own gas."

Watch KVAL 13 TV News at 6 p.m. Monday, May 16, and this website for more on the origins of Oregon's ban on self-service, why you shouldn't predict the future in Yamhill, post an electric sign in Oakridge and other weird and whacky laws from around Oregon.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off