City Cast

Tips for Oregonians Pumping Their Own Gas for the First Time

Rachel Monahan
Posted on August 7
gas pump with "self service" sign

Oregon gas stations can now allow customers to pump their own gas for the first time this century. (Rachel Monahan/City Cast Portland)

Many of you have lived in a state where pumping your own gas was legal, or at least visited one. But it’s a big deal: for the first time in 72 years, Portland, we might have to get out of the car and get gas for ourselves.

New to pumping your own gas? Here are some pointers:

  • Find your gas pump: You’ve probably had to do this before, but with no attendant around to monitor, you have to choose between diesel and regular pumps.
  • Pull up with your gas tank facing a pump. Again, you probably already know this skill from before. But it’s a good reminder. (Note: Most cars have a little arrow on the dashboard that indicates which side the tank is on — even if you can’t see it in the side-view mirror.)
  • Safety: Don’t smoke. Don’t touch or inhale the gas. The stuff is flammable (that’s why it can power your car). The risks may be relatively low, but it’s worth being careful.
  • The gas stations are still allowed to run a full-service operation, and you have to follow those rules if they are. Also: they can indicate one part of the gas station as full service (and you can skip the rest of these reminders if you use it), but they aren’t allowed to charge separate prices for full- and self-service.
  • Pay for the gas. At the gas pump, you can generally pay with a credit or debit card. And that makes things easier. But you can pay inside too.
  • Another safety tip: Don’t top it off. Once the pump clicks off it’s not a good idea not to add more gas
  • Don’t drive away with the pump still in your car or your gas cap still on your car’s roof. Yes, both things have been known to happen — till now only in other states.

I’m curious if any gas stations will actually stay full service. Have you found any out there? Please let me know.

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