Gas executive rebuts reasoning why we can’t pump our own gas in New Jersey
How bad are gas prices in New Jersey? So bad we probably won’t answer President Biden’s call for a gas tax exemption.
As Eric Scott writes on New Jersey 101.5: “Despite multiple efforts by lawmakers, Governor Phil Murphy has staunchly refused to support the suspension of New Jersey’s gasoline tax. He has stated that such Tax suspension should come from the federal government.”
“They can print money, we can’t,” Murphy said.
Neither do we, Governor.
So how did we get into this beautiful mess in the first place? Why can’t New Jerseyans pump their own gasoline? A New York Post article states that “The New Jersey Legislature released 10 findings and statements that detail why people aren’t allowed to self-pumping gasoline.”
I asked Sal Risalvato of the New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association
to respond to the 10 conclusions of the Post article.
Fire hazards MAY have been an issue in 1949, but not as much today. I say MAY only because 70 years of experience in 48 other states does not show that people are burning from self-serve gasoline. I would ask: where are all the news stories about the gas station fires? Gas station fires happen when cars run off the road and crash into pumps. As Senator Declan O’Scanlon likes to say, NJ citizens are no more flammable than citizens of the other 49 states.”
Regarding smoking, were there more or fewer people who smoked in 1949 than today? I’d bet a steak dinner that a lot more people smoked back then than they do now. Stop the engine? Oh good? How many people don’t turn off their engine right now even when an attendant is pumping their gas? How many attendants inform the motorist to turn off the engine? How many motorists comply and turn off the engine even after being ordered to do so? My members report that often, when an attendant asks a motorist to turn off the engine, his request is ignored. Ultimately, this leads to attendants not bothering to give the instruction to turn off the engine.
Again, let’s look at other states. Isn’t engine shutdown really causing problems in other states? Other than of course pissing off environmentalists who want to enforce the 3 minute limit on idling an engine. Tell that to people who are waiting for an attendant to finally be available to serve them. Will they turn off the engine while waiting for a pump attendant? »
“Help the cashiers”
Maintaining a clear view is the big deal when blocking push-ups with orange cones. If I have an attendant rushing between cars to provide proper service to customers on one or two islands, it is difficult to monitor pump activity on other islands and serve customers who are physically farther from the vicinity of which I serve other clients. Again, how is this a problem in 49 other states over the past 70 years? Where’s the news? Where are the warnings from hospitals and the medical profession because of all the burn victims they are treating who have started a fire in a gas station?
Sal says: “See above”
“Insurance is a factor”
No proof of this. If they are correct, I would ask: how much higher? Double? Not likely. This still wouldn’t offset the savings from eliminating a labor cost. Oh yes, fewer employees equals less insurance. Insurance is a false argument. This is one of what I call a convenience argument, which means “I perceive voters will have an angry reaction and my testicles aren’t big enough to do the right thing, so let me listing a bunch of bull **** arguments and even making up my own theories” such as “I don’t believe gas stations will pass on savings from self-service.
This one really cracks me up. People have been smelling gasoline fumes for 20 years. I crack up every time someone says, “I don’t want to smell gasoline. By law, there are vapor recovery systems on the gas nozzles, and there is also on-board vapor recovery on every car. The DEP makes his panties swell if there is even a crack in a boot on the steam nozzle. So bunched up there’s a fine of $600 a day per pipe they don’t forgive. Go stand next to any car that has a full tank and tell me if you smell gasoline.
Oh, by the way, gas fumes are what’s flammable, so between no gas fumes and fewer people smoking, the whole argument of point one – fire hazards – is thrown out the window. Most people don’t know that liquid gasoline doesn’t burn. Only the vapors emitted by the liquid are highly flammable.
Yes, you can smell gas if spilled, but today’s nozzles prevent spills, overflows and certainly vapors. That’s why the hose and nozzle can cost up to $1,600 per refueling point. One on each side of the distributor for a total of two per distributor.
“Balances the cost of full service”
Hmmmm… seems like an acknowledgment that self-service will probably be cheaper! So I guess that argument is only good when it suits lawmakers who insist that self-service savings won’t be passed on to motorists. I guess then they recognize that it’s OK for those who wish to pump their own gas, they actually subsidize those who want someone to pump it for them. What happened to the concept of “equitable sharing”? Is it only a good premise for an argument if discussing higher taxes on the rich?
Toooo late! Many gas stations discovered years ago that selling coffee, chips and soda is more profitable with less headache than fixing brakes and doing tune-ups. Many repair sites are actually former service stations that have shut down pumps and remained in the repair business. Self-service gasoline has no effect on the number of slots available to repair cars.
I don’t know which argument is more ridiculous than the other. Gas attendants stopped checking the oil and under the hood years ago. Do you know why? Because cars have become so high-tech and it is difficult on many cars to determine where the dipstick is to check the oil, or which cap is the correct cap to fill the oil, or the coolant windshield washer fluid, or brake fluid, etc. There’s also a lot of responsibility to have an attendant put washer fluid in the oil pan. Many gas stations actually post signs that the attendant will NOT check under the hood. This is completely unaffected by self-service.”
“No cost disparity noted”
Here’s an FTC study that was done years ago that says otherwise, specifically about NJ. Of course, since we don’t have self-serve, there’s no way to determine that with a study in New Jersey today.
So does this mean that motorists who are not allowed to pump their own gasoline and who do not have the opportunity to save 10 to 20 cents per gallon do not suffer economic harm? So what exactly is “common welfare”?
I repeat… the facts are all with us to change the law. All the arguments put forward by the opponents are not factual and are only emotional and are arguments of convenience.
What these lawmakers don’t understand is something I know instinctively and in my heart and guts…and that is that their fear is unwarranted and that one year after self-serve was enacted, their constituents will be glad self serve is allowed and if the Legislature tries to go back to full service only then they would be skinned alive.
What if the legislature banned ATMs and required you to wait in line to withdraw money from your bank account? What if they banned self-service checkouts at the supermarket or at Walmart or Home Depot? Would people be happy to return to the queue for the mandated cashier?
The views expressed in the above post are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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