Oregon and New Jersey are the only states where drivers cannot pump their own gas. Can NOT, as in it is actually against the law, for those who didn’t quite understand it. In the short time I’ve had on this realm, I’ve held the job of “gas station attendant,” or fueler of cars, trucks, motorcycles and the lowly gas can at two points in my life, now being the second. I get paid a meager salary to do what others do ordinarily in 48 other states, and am completely aware of this fact. HOWEVER. There are laws, and there are things that you need to know, should you ever roll into my lot in need of petroleum product.
After some careful thinking, I’ve decided to break these down into Do’s and Don’ts, as are universally accepted by all attendants, but I’d first like to include one particular to my station. You see, we’re the cheapest gas in Portland- pretty much hard to beat prices across the board. That means we get a lot of business. And that means Busy-Ness. Sometimes I will be out there, servicing the 8 pumps we have, across two islands, and dealing with various peccadilloes such as feisty car tanks, the aforementioned cans, and credit card wonkiness that can have me tied up in place for a moment or two. Please be patient, and wait it out.
So then, DO:
-Roll down your window, get off your phone, and turn your music down. I need to hear you speak when you place your fuel order.
-Pop open your fuel door, if you have one.
- Know your zip code if you’re using a credit or debit card.
-Tell me whether you’re paying by cash or card.- Inform me if you’re paying with a large cash bill, like a 50 or 100, before I start fueling.
-Ask for a cash receipt BEFORE I change your money.
Finally in the DO column, know what side your gas tank is on, because most stations won’t pull their hoses around your car to reach it. If you’re in a new, borrowed, or rented vehicle -and it’s relatively new- check the fuel gauge. You’ll probably see a little arrow pointing left/right which will clue you in.
And now for the DON’T:
-Touch the pumps. It’s against the law, and it’s against some station’s policies even if you’re getting diesel.
-Get out of your vehicle and “supervise” the fueling. This is almost always done by men, and frankly, it almost always leads to the above.
-Ask me to put refined petroleum into anything other than an approved gas can. They usually come in red.
-Pull in to a slot facing another car. This will almost always result with negative consequences.
-Pay me in coins, unless you are getting less than $5.00 worth of gas.
- Ask me to round up, or “top off” your fill. Not only is it bad for the environment and the health of everyone, the new-fangled pumps actually suck a good portion of that excess back into the hose, so you’re not getting what you’re paying for.
-Park your vehicle at a pump, and go into the store before I get your order. Because then it takes twice as long to get your butt off the lot, doesn’t it?
- Pull in too close to the pumps. My hose has a reach of about six feet. Give me room to work.
-Pull in too far away from the pumps. Many people make the mistake of stopping when the pump display is at their window. That’s awesome for you, but not so much for the actual dispensation process when your tank is six feet away. Sure, I may be able to reach it, but your fuel door might get bent.
- Get impatient, loiter, or cause friction with other customers.
And finally, the percentage of you out there who have locking gas caps, why must you have a plethora of other keys and assorted fobs? It really, really sucks for us.
Happy trails, and have an awesome trip to the pumps next time you’re in my Portland woods.