Through the '90s and early 2000s I travelled to Oregon between 4 and 8 times a year. I still remember the first visit. I stopped at a gas station on US 30 near the airport. I got ready to fill up the rental car in anticipation of returning it.
"Get your hands off that" I was told by the attendant. I wasn't allowed to pump my own gas. He told me only trained attendants could fuel a car. I had been pumping my own gas since the late 1970's. I was unaware the procedure was dangerous or even difficult.
Later I learned that pumping gas is remarkably difficult in New Jersey too, so there were no self-service pumps in the Garden State either.
Oregon has now allowed gas stations in towns with populations of less than 40,000 to offer self-pump gas. This raises some questions. Why are rural and small town denizens of Oregon better able and equipped to pump gas than their big city counterparts? Why are the residents of the larger cities in the Beaver State unable to accomplish a task that nearly every American and most Europeans have managed to master? Or perhaps more appropriately, why do the politicians think the citizens are incapable?
I suspect we know the answer. Lobbyist money. The gas station and convenience stores are paying off the right people. Here in Indiana, beer is regulated by temperature. Only certain stores can sell cold beer. Grocery stores and convenience stores can only offer warm beer. Oh, and none can sell on Sunday. Who fights hardest against Sunday sales of booze? The liqueur store lobby. They see no reason to stay open seven days when they capture all of the available sales on a six day schedule. We Hoosiers all know if you want cold beer or a bottle you have to buy it Saturday. Similarly, I suspect enough Oregonian legislators have been persuaded by the petroleum dispensing organization to keep the "we gotta pump it" surcharge in place.
Yet somehow those same politicians will go home and tell the sucker voters how much he or she cares about he little guy. The swamp exists in places far from Washington DC.