Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Time to Reboot the Push for Self-Service Gas!

It looks like it is finally time again to start the rallying cry for the introduction of self-service gas in Oregon.  The Oregonian reported on this poll of Oregonians that shows ... wait for it ... support for self-service gas in Oregon!

As long-time readers of this blog know, self-service gas was something that I would just not shut up about for a very long time, as evidenced by this long series of posts.  Once the recession hit I knew it was a non-starter because supporters of the status-quo will inevitably bring up the jobs that will be lost, and despite the obvious economic fallacy of increasing employment by mandating jobs, this argument cannot be countered by showing specific job gains from repealing the ban.  So a time of high unemployment is definitely not the time to try and get support for a repeal of the ban.

However now that we are well on the path of recovery it appears it is time to once again start up the call for repealing the ban.

There are a number of things that are very interesting about this poll.  First is the way the question was worded.  Many people assume that if you allow self-service gas you will no longer be able to have it pumped for you.  There is no reason for this.  It is true that in most states, many gas stations are self-service only, but it would be easy to mandate pumping on request.  I suspect if you asked respondents "you you support giving drivers in Oregon the choice of having their gas pumped for them or pumping it for themselves" the support would be dramatically higher.

Second is the gender division.  Men support it and women oppose it.  Based on the comments I received from readers during my first crusade, I suspect that again this represents the concern that there would no longer be the option to have it pumped for you.  I'd love to see the results with my alternate wording of the question.  

Third is the racial breakdown: whites support, non-whites do not.  This is more curious perhaps this reflects a concern about losing these jobs?

Fourth is the age breakdown.  I was shocked to see that support was tepid among 18 to 29 year-olds.  Perhaps again this reflects a concern about the jobs?  The grumpy middle aged folks like me show the strongest support.

Finally, the support by political party is predictable given this argument tends to shape up along the less regulation vs. more regulation debate.

I'll end by once again pointing out the obvious: allowing customers to pump you own gas is not dangerous, will lead to lower prices and would not harm (and most likely help) overall employment in Oregon.  You can still preserve the ability to have your gas pumped for you and allow those who wish to pump their own.  That petition that I started about six years ago is still there, so it is never too late to go and sign...

Who knows, maybe in my lifetime...


MC said...

I am curious if there is any record of people actually being fined or charged with violating the self-service law in Oregon? Curious for a few reasons, would like to just start doing it and see what happens. Plus, maybe if I am actually charged it could be the start of a potential lawsuit that could end the ridiculous law.

dasvision said...

Is there a lobbying group or someone actively working on this? I recently moved to OR, and basically think this policy is idiotic. It results in taking me more time than it should, and a generation of Oregonians who apparently think creating jobs that no one is willing to pay for (in the form of higher prices for full service, as evidenced nationwide) is a good idea.

Would love to financially contribute to any lobbying group working to overturn this arcane and counterproductive rule.