Amusement and truth abounded in Barry Newman’s Wall Street Journal piece. New Jerseyans do plenty of things for themselves, but they don’t pump their own gas.
Come on, admit it
I know. I’m a New Jersey native, as much as I dislike making that admission. But despite being contrary to New Jersey politics and pretty much everything else in the state, I loved not having to pump gasoline into my car when I was there.
NJers do their own thing
And, like Newman’s article says, New Jerseyans grew up doing for themselves. I too picked strawberries from the fields, peas in the pod, blueberries from the bush by the trunkload for myself. But a tankful of gasoline was always installed by an attendant. That’s a very welcome thing during a typical New Jersey ice storm.
Unlike all these United States, but along with Oregon, New Jersey banned gasoline fills by customers back in 1949. The thought was that people would blow themselves up. While gasoline is a very volatile liquid and presents an explosion hazard with improper handling, spilling was less of a problem than convenience was a benefit. People got used to being served, especially during the brutal weather conditions New Jersey is known to have.
Good with the gals
Women are particularly vocal about their love for NJ’s self-service ban. “It’s so dirty” most gals complain about self-service gas. I’ll have to agree. No matter how clean the station, the pumps, or the car, women’s hands and clothing always seem to get dirty after a self fill-up in another state.
Cheaper to self serve?
Those who would rid the ban claim gasoline would be cheaper to fill up yourself. This has proven either to be untrue or people don’t care if they pay more. The convenience of remaining in the car while the guy outside fills up is worth whatever the service costs, if anything. So, the argument for lowering costs for gasoline is falling deaf on New Jersey ears. They’re not buying that one.
What we love about New Jersey
So, one of the things I like most about a visit to my old stomping grounds is that the gasoline goes into the car by somebody else. You can complain about the high taxes, crazy politics, congestion, crime, and corruption, but add convenience at the gas station to New Jersey’s characteristics. You’ll love a trip to the Garden State, even in winter!
Hey, New Jersey: Don’t let that change!