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Most of the local stations allow it, but it has not shown to be a popular option yet



JASON CHANEY - Cross Street Station attendant Jesse Scott fuels a customer's vehicle. Most people still prefer to let an attendant pump their gas despite a new law that allows self-service from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in counties with less than 40,000 people.

Since Jan. 1, Crook County fuel stations have been allowed by Oregon law to let people pump their own gas from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The change made possible by the near unanimous passage of House Bill 3011 in the State Legislature applies to any Oregon county with a population of 40,000 or less, a threshold Crook County lands well under with roughly 21,000 residents.

The law is also intended to benefit remote communities and the motorists who travel through them. If a driver needing fuel enters a small, isolated community at a late hour, this law would allow them to buy gas without the service of an attendant. The gas station, meanwhile, would make money on fuel sales throughout the night without spending money to employ an attendant during those hours.

Despite the new legislature-granted freedom, most gas stations have changed little if any practices thus far. There are locations such as Main Street Express who do not allow self-serve at any hour. Attempts to reach a representative of the station to address the restriction were unsuccessful by press deadline. Other fueling businesses, like the Cross Street 76 station, do allow it, but see few people take advantage of the option.

“What’s funny is even with the new change, nobody does it,” observes employee Tyler Adams. “A few people ask, but the fact of the matter is Oregonians are stuck in their ways.”

Prineville 76 Station, located near downtown, also allows people to pump their own gas during the new legal hours, but because the business employs an attendant during their 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. hours, people have not gone the self-service route.

“We are not really forcing it on anybody,” explains Shelby Perkins, who works at the fueling station. “It is a new law. We are adjusting to it.”

In the small, remote community of Post, southeast of Prineville, the situation differs a bit. Manager Stephanie Barclay says that she still fuels vehicles when she can, but people are welcome to pump their own gas if necessary.

“It’s kind of nice when if I’m busy, somebody can get their fuel and not have to wait for me,” she said. “I like it. I think it’s great.”

As far as making changes to accommodate payment and use of gas station pumps is concerned, little change seems necessary. Barclay called her gas pumps “so old school” that nothing needed changed to allow self-serve. The pumps don’t include credit card readers like most modern ones do.

Adams, meanwhile, said the pumps at Cross Street are wide open, but that fact alone doesn’t make the transition to self-service seamless.

“It would make it easier for them if they ask how to run the card or things like that,” he admits.