The Oregon State Fire Marshal Extends Self-Service Gas Through April 25

The Oregon Fuels Association pushed for the measure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal on April 10 extended the temporary lifting of the state's ban on self-service gasoline in most counties until April 25.

The Oregon Fuels Association, which represents gas station owners, had earlier asked to be allowed to implement self-service during the COVID-19 pandemic, citing employee fears of coming face to face with the public all day long.

Oregon Gas Station Owners Want Gov. Kate Brown to OK Self-Service Gas. Organized Labor Does Not.

With Brown's approval, Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker temporarily lifted the state's ban on self-service March 28, saying Oregonians could pump their own gas in certain situations through April 11. (Residents in counties with fewer than 40,000 people can already pump their own gas, courtesy of a 2017 law. New Jersey is the only other state that doesn't allow most residents to pump their own gas.)

Walker's temporary order allowed self-service at stations that chose to offer it but did not require them to do so. He required stations that do offer self-service to have staff on hand to sanitize pumps and assist customers when necessary.

Although organized labor opposed the lifting of Oregon's self-service ban, saying station owners were using a crisis to achieve a long-held goal of reducing costs, the fuels association said in an April 10 statement that a recent survey it conducted found gas station employees were reluctant to work during the pandemic.

The survey found that 88 percent of local station owners said they had employees who either quit or could not work during the pandemic and 60 percent said they had employees who asked not to work directly with customers.

"Like all of us, fuel attendants want to be able to follow orders around social distancing and keeping themselves safe," said Danelle Romain, a lobbyist for the fuels association. "The self-service option is allowing employees to shift their focus from close, face-to-face interaction with customers to keeping pumps and payment mechanisms clean and sanitized for the next customer."

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