Better Not Pump Your Own Gas

July 19, 2008

I’m quite the proponent of small government that stays out of my life and let’s me keep as much of my money as possible (I have this annoying little conviction that I can do better with my money than a huge bureaucracy – call my silly). I’m also a proponent of choice and personal responsibility. This idea carries over in to every part of my life – including pumping my gas.

I’ve been pumping gas since I was a kid. I’ve done it about once a week since then. In that entire time, I have managed to not blow up a gas station, blow up my car or spray it on another person. There have been the minor snafus of dripping gas on the car or a little dribbling out onto the concrete as I replace the nozzle. But all in all, I would say I’m a good gas pumper – and so would anyone who knows me.

But apparently the state of New Jersey does not feel the same. You see, New Jersey is 1 of 2 states (Oregon being the other) that have outlawed the practice of pumping your own gas. Apparently in 1949, legislators felt the average person was not capable of handling the flammable substance. In this state, only those properly trained in gas pumping are allowed to introduce the precious liquid to your gas tank. If you try and do it yourself you are yelled at and forced back into your car.

So what does this mean for your fill up experience? Well, think about any other time the government takes over a private enterprise and you’ll have a good picture. 2 things stick out most to me.

1. These certified gas pumpers look homeless, dangerous and appear to have never finished high school. The first time I encountered one of these “professionals”, I was so scared I locked my doors and almost called the cops to report an attempted car jacking.

2. Long lines. Think 1970’s gas shortage. Most of these stations only have 1 person working per 3 or 4 pumps.

Mind you, I don’t mind the full service, but please let me have the choice.

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