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Measure Would Allow Rural Oregonians To Sometimes Pump Their Own Gas

The Idaho Senate approved a  10-cent hike in the state's gas tax.
The Idaho Senate approved a 10-cent hike in the state's gas tax.

Anyone who drives through Oregon knows that the state doesn't let people pump their own gas.

A measure moving through the state legislature would create an exception to that law, but only under limited circumstances.

From its description, this bill sounds rather ominous: "Relating to the operation of devices for dispensing Class 1 flammable liquids."

In most states, devices that dispense flammable liquids are simply called gas pumps. And in every state but Oregon and New Jersey, drivers are entrusted with the operation of those pumps.

The measure would allow gas stations in rural counties to stay open even when there's no one there to staff the pump.

"This would allow folks to actually get away from their job and leave fuel available to people who might happen by these remote areas,” Republican ​Representative Cliff Bentz said.

The bill as currently written would apply to counties with a population of less than 40,000. That covers fully half of all Oregon counties, including most communities along the coast and the Columbia Gorge.

The measure passed the Oregon House unanimously and now heads to the Senate.

Copyright 2015 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.