NJ gas stations cut prices to protest self-service ban
Dozens of New Jersey gas stations cut their prices Friday to protest the state ban on self-service as skyrocketing fuel prices hit record highs ahead of the start of summer.
The reduced prices are intended to show motorists how much they could save at the pumps if the Garden State allowed people to pump their own gas, organizers said.
The ban — the only one of its kind in the country — is viewed by critics as “stupid” or “embarrassing,” said Sal Risalvato of the New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience Store-Automotive Association.
“When my members meet clients from abroad, they are so used to pumping their gas that they jump out of their car to pump their gas and we have to stop them,” Risalvato told The Post. “And they think it’s ridiculous.”
But the issue continues to grind to a political standstill in a state where many traditionalists want to protect the supposed sanctity of full service.
A bill called the Motorist Fueling Choice and Convenience Act is the latest attempt to overturn the ban but is seen as having a long way to go before becoming law. Full-service-only has become “a source of Jersey pride” but has meant the loss of potential savings for motorists, he said.
Self-service has been illegal in Jersey since 1949, when the Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act came into force with the aim of reducing the risk of fire, limiting liability insurance for service stations and minimizing customer exposure to toxic gas fumes “particularly in the case of pregnant women”. Women.”
The law also said that a self-service option would mean higher full-service prices, leading to “discrimination against low-income individuals” who would face the dangers of pumping their own fuel.
Supporters of the long-standing ban argue that lifting it would have no tangible impact on gas prices and could mean job losses at service stations. Risalvato disagrees, noting that many stations installed orange cones in front of working pumps even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Those spigots that block gas pumps — these are employees who don’t exist,” he said. “What we want to do is remove the orange cone and allow you to pump your gas.”
At an Exxon station near the Holland Tunnel entrance in Jersey City on Friday, about half of the station’s 22 pumps were blocked with cones and signs reading “This pump would be open if NJ allowed self-service.”
The station offered 15-cent discounts but was still fully serviced, and employees handed out notes to customers that read, “Motorists would have $100 to $400 annually if New Jersey allowed the self-service option.”
“I would say 75 percent are open to it,” station manager Richard Fazaldin told the Post. “About 25 percent like things the way they are. They say, ‘I don’t want to pump it myself after all these years.’ I declare, ‘No, no, no, ma’am. We’ll always have full serve. We will have full serve and self service.”
New York cab driver Phil Fleurant, 54, who was filling up his 17-gallon car, said lifting the ban was a good idea because of the price savings and a potential tip for the worker.
“It’s nothing to pump the gasoline. Thank God I’m not disabled,” said Fleurant. “I can do it. I work five or six days a week. Those savings add up.”
Pediatric dentist Yasmi Crystal said she prefers full care.
“I’m almost embarrassed, but I’m a prima donna because I’d rather pay the money than have my hands smell of gas,” Crustal said. “But I’m very, very sensitive to people who care about 15 cents.”
Jersey City resident Dante Jones, 30, said he would happily do the work himself if it meant savings.
“Right now when prices are high, any money that’s saved is great,” Jones said.
The effort comes as average gasoline prices in the state hit a record high of $4.502 a gallon of regular unleaded gas on Friday — a full 50 cents more than a month earlier and well above the average of $3.057 a year ago, according to AAA. The national average was $4,432 on Friday, AAA explained.
A Monmouth University poll in April found that two in three New Jerseyers would pump their own gas if they could, with 54% supporting self-service while full service remains an option. According to the survey, only 21% of respondents believed that a change in the law would actually lower prices.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/13/nj-gas-stations-lower-prices-to-protest-ban-on-self-serve/ NJ gas stations cut prices to protest self-service ban