10:11:13 No Self-Serve Gas in Oregon

Alone with one other state in the Union--New Jersey--Oregon has never allowed motorists to pump their own gas. Gas is only dispensed by an employee of the retailer. The rules are pretty inflexible. Although I've known one gas jockey to offer the rider of a Harley the gas nozzle because said attendant was willing to let the rider take the chance of spilling a drop on that multi-coated, high-gloss lacquered 3.3-gallon tank.

Oregon resists the tide of 48 states that decided it's okay for motorists--including geriatric grandmothers--to take up the nozzle and pump their own gas for two reasons: Gasoline is dangerous; no self-serve saves jobs.

[Gas Sign]

No self-serve gas in Oregon is a fact of life. And I think most many Oregonians--if they think about it at all--take some maverick pride about it just as we're pretty smug about our lack of state sales tax (a distinction shared with only four other states).

So how to cope with the lack of self-serve gas? I'm pretty discriminating on this. I buy only Arco, the low-cost name brand. I go to the same Arco station when one particular attendant will be there whom I've come to trust. He doesn't spill gas on my paint, he doesn't chip my paint, and he puts the pump on its slow setting so my gas tank doesn't hiccup. That's not much to ask, but getting 100% satisfaction on those expectations can be a challenge.

So if you don't drive a motorcycle, how does one ever pump their own gas in Oregon?

If you own or are employed by a company with a fleet of vehicles (taxis, trucks and such) there are gas stations that are cardlock-operated. The ordinary public doesn't have access to these choices.

For an Oregonian to pump their own gas, they have to leave the State of Oregon. I drive across the Columbia River from Portland, a fifteen-minute drive into Washington State and voila! I can stop at any gas station and start filling up.

Or I can be driving down a stretch of two-lane blacktop in rural Oregon and stop at an otherwise normal-looking gas station, but see rancher types gassing up their Ford F150s and city folks like me gassing up, too, when a fellow who works there saunters over and says, Yes, it's a different country out here. He tells me to go ahead and pump my own gas.

I'm on a Native American reservation and Oregon laws about self-service gas don't apply. The sky overhead suddenly seems bluer. I'm a bit wistful I won't be needing gas again anytime soon at precisely this spot on a country road because I don't get out here that often.

Read more ...
(click to enlarge image)

The Cat at Light's End

Read Charlie Dickinson's story collection, The Cat at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable formats:

.mobi (Kindle)
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)

more posts

9:28:13 A Street Cat Named Bob, a book review
9:23:13 The Life & Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin, a book review
9:18:13 Autumn Leaves
8:19:13 The Worst Car Driver & Why
8:12:13 The Gardener from Ochakov, a book review
7:25:13 Le Havre by Kaurismaki
7:20:13 This Ain't California
6:27:13 The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking, a book review
5:29:13 My Linux (Mis)Adventures
5:25:13 Southern Cross the Dog, a book review
5:5:13 Russian Tumbleweed
4:16:13 "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster
3:26:13 Camera-rama
3:25:13 Moore's Law
3:13:13 Grocery Shopping 
2:28:13 Razor Blade in Moonlight
1:27:13 Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design, a book review
1:6:13 Alleys
12:9:12 White Bread, a book review
12:4:12 Update on Old-School Shaving
11:12:12 Ten Great Buys at Dollar Tree
11:6:12 My New Russian Camera
10:29:12 Leaf Day
10:2:12 The Russian Navy in New York?
9:21:12 The Righteous Mind, a book review
9:14:12 Revolution, 1989, a book review
8:23:12 Train Whistles in the Night
8:2:12 Why I've Stockpiled Light Bulbs
7:22:12 Old-School Shaving
7:16:12 Злектроника МК-52, computer de minimus
7:4:12 Ivan's Childhood by Tarkovsky
6:21:12 The Unabomber, a modern Thoreau?
6:12:12 Do the gods exist?
6:7:12 My "Retail Therapy"
5:28:12 On Taxes, We Should Go Green
5:17:12 Portland's Trash
5:6:12 The Toaster Project, a book review
4:24:12 No Seconds
4:12:12 Portland's Runaway Utility Bill
4:8:12 The Repossession, a book review
3:30:12 How I Got Published in Mississippi Review
3:18:12 Rothko
3:9:12 The End of Money, a book review
3:1:12 gutenberg.org
2:18:12 Beauty Plus Pity, a book review
2:5:12 Kirk's Castile Soap
1:29:12 Confessions of a Fallen Standard-Bearer, a book review
1:22:12 Thirst, a book review
1:17:12 My IBM ThinkPad 1999-2012
1:11:12 String Beans
12:22:11 Spiritual TMJ
12:16:11 1Q84, a book review
12:11:11 How Portland Became Portlandia
12:1:11 The Fixie
11:20:11 Camus' Insight
11:13:11 Old & Worthy
11:7:11 Life Is Tragic
10:31:11 A Matter of Death and Life, a book review
10:25:11 Dead Letter, Email Fatigue
10:18:11 Reinventing Collapse, a book review
10:11:11 Rereading Pirsig
10:1:11 The Sisters Brothers, a book review
9:26:11 The Great Stagnation, a book review
9:16:11 Coffee, The Affordable Luxury
9:12:11 The Genius of Value
9:5:11 Death and the Penguin, a book review