Trenton, New Jersey (WABC) – New Jersey is the only state in the country that does not allow drivers to pump gas on their own, which for many is a matter of pride in the state of Garden.

However, this could end with a new proposal to allow self-sufficiency as an option if gas prices are rising due to inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Everyone is in a hurry, so if you can pump up your gas, save 15 cents or more per gallon, why not?” Said assembly member Annette Chaparo. “If you don’t want to, that’s your option.”

The New Jersey legislature introduced the A3105, dubbed the Motorist Choice and Convenience Act, a two-party measure that will allow residents to self-pump gas or continue full service from an attendant.

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“While some drivers may find it convenient to stay in the car when the attendant fills their tank, waiting for this help becomes uncomfortable when the driver is in a hurry or the station is particularly busy,” said assembly member Carol Murphy. “This law will simply give drivers more opportunities when it comes to refueling on their own, ensuring that drivers who need it can still get help at the pump.”

Members of New Jersey Gasoline, the Convenience Store, and the Automotive Association (NJGCA), whose membership includes nearly 1,000 small automotive fuel retailers, have spoken out in support of the bill.

“The current self-service law is crippling my small business,” said NJGCA president and gas station owner Joe Achela. “When I started doing business a few years ago, it was a great way to make a living, the path to the American dream. But rising prices and labor shortages are making it harder and harder to manage gas stations.”

The bill will allow gas stations to offer self-service, although stations with more than four handouts will still have to continue to offer full service.

“I can guarantee that the self-service option will save money for motorists who exercise their choice,” said Kashmir Gill, a member of the NJGCA and owner of several locations in Central Jersey. “As a station owner, I know that the self-service option will bring my business significant cost savings that I can pass on to my customers.”

In 1949, Congress passed a statute called the Retail Gasoline Safety Act, which banned self-service gas, citing safety concerns such as fire hazards. Currently, New Jersey is the only state that supports the law and requires a gas station worker to pump.

“It’s getting harder for me to keep my gas stations open because of a shortage of manpower, which significantly affects my business,” said Levent Sertbas, a NJGCA member and gas station owner. “There have been a few cases where I’ve had to close at noon because I can’t find staff to work with gas stations.”

However, not all supporters of this proposal.

“I wouldn’t know how to do it, and I don’t think I want to do it,” said motorist Mary Ann Bucks. “I know that when you go out of state, you have to do it. And I’m happy to have someone with me when I do it.”

RELATED | Gas prices are expected to continue to rise due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict

For some New Jersey residents, the idea of ​​pumping their own gas is alien.

“I would have preferred someone to pump gas for me, because I’ve lived in Jersey all my life,” said motorist Justin Meek. – I don’t know how to pump gas.

The state has about 2,200 gas stations, and many see this as a way to support them in business, especially in a shortage of staff.

“New Jersey law requires that the associated pump must pump gas to the customer,” said Sal Rysalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline and Stores Association. “So if we don’t have a duty officer, we can’t pump gas.”

If the law is passed and signed by Gov. Phil Murphy, the law will take effect 90 days after that date.

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