Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Self-service may be coming to a gas station near you, but it likely won't be completely unattended, Energy Department says.

PMG PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Motorists fill up their own tanks at a Fred Meyer gas station in Wilsonville on Monday, March 30.  Feeling a bit confused about Oregon's new gas pump pronouncement?

You're not alone, apparently.

After the State Fire Marshal on Sunday, March 29, announced new rules allowing self-service at gas stations across the state, the Oregon Department of Energy on Monday politely cleared its throat and asked for a bit of attention.

"This temporary suspension does not make self-service mandatory," ODE said. "The intention is to ensure fuel is available to essential personnel who need to travel."

The Energy Department reports that the workforce at gas stations has been cut in half, due to workers' concerns of contracting illnesses and the need to provide childcare during the school closure.

The Oregon Fuels Association notes that, in many places, attendants will be available to help customers and to sanitize the handles of fuel nozzles while practicing social distancing and avoiding hand-to-hand contact.

"Unattended self-service will only happen if and when a gas station owner exhausts all staffing options," the association says.

Some rural areas already have self-service gas stations — similar to 48 other states in the union — rather than the old-fashioned attendants still required in Oregon metro areas and beyond.

Stations that cannot hire enough help are required to post safety signs explaining how to pump gas. The suspension is currently in effect until Saturday, April 11, though it could be extended.

Check out the video below for step-by-step instructions on how to manually refill your gas tank. Now if only there were some place you needed to go....

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