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Gas station attendants were phased out across much of the country during the 1970s, when skyrocketing oil prices left drivers seeking to save a few cents on fuel.Today, it is estimated that Oregon’s self-service pump prohibition has raised fuel prices by 3-5 cents.However, the ban on self-service stations is based on variations of this concern over improper dispensing of gasoline leading to fires or spills.Relying on station attendants means that a trained operation is able “to maintain a clear view of and give undivided attention to the pumping process.” This does reduce liability insurance rates for gas stations in Oregon.At River Hills Automotive in Burnsville, owner Dave Barnes says his pumps are so old they cannot be upgraded to be outfitted with EMV technology.
If most of the country has learned to pump its own gas, why do some Oregon residents continue to advocate for station attendants? Supporters of mandatory station attendants have praised the convenience and sense of luxury that comes with not having to get out of your car to fill up.The state’s statutes cite fire hazards as the primary reason why drivers can’t pump their own gas.This risk has been mitigated by advances in gas pump technology that today make spills less likely.Credit card companies gave retailers until October of 2015 to comply. According to the National Retail Federation, 99 percent of medium and large stores and 81 percent of small stores are expected to have the EMV technology by the end of 2017. They had until October of 2017, but that changed late last year when the credit card companies extended the deadline to October of 2020.In a statement, Master Card said the company changed its liability shift date after extensive discussions with merchants, issuers, acquirers and other stakeholders.