News Outlets in Oregon Teach Viewers How to Pump Gas

The state legalized self-serve fueling on Friday.

August 07, 2023

For seven decades, drivers in Oregon weren’t allowed to pump their own gas. That finally ended last week, although gas stations are still required to have as many full-service pumps as self-service ones. New Jersey is now the only state that bans self-fueling.

The original state law banning self-serve cited several hazards that are less apparent today than they were in 1951, including “the dangers of crime and slick surfaces” and “small children left unattended when customers leave to make payment at retail self-service stations [create] a dangerous situation.”

The primers on how to pump gas are a reminder that the seemingly simple act is not totally intuitive. Local station KGW offered five steps to a fill-up, reminding its audience that gasoline comes in different grades, while the tutorial from KOIN had six steps (pull up, know what kind of gas you’re getting, pay with a card, get pumping, put your fuel cap back on, get your receipt).

John Roscoe, a founding member of NACS, was instrumental in bringing self-serve to convenience stores. Discover more in the August issue of NACS Magazine or in the article “The History of Self-Fueling” at, where Roscoe explains, “What made self-serve so important to the convenience store industry was that we already had the facility. By spending $10,000, we effectively got the gasoline business from full-serve gas stations without their labor expenses.”

“A good share of convenience store operators didn’t have the $10,000 to invest in the device, so overall acceptance was extremely slow,” said Roscoe, who traveled the country drumming up interest in the technology, which he became licensed to sell. “It probably took at least 10 years before there was much acceptance by the industry.”