New Jersey Gas Stations Make Push for Self-Serve Fueling

One-day discounts offered to draw attention to the cost of labor at the pump.
A motorist filling up

WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Approximately six dozen gas stations in New Jersey plan to make a point about the benefits of self-serve gas by putting their money where their mouths are. On Friday, May 13, gas stations across the state will offer significant fuel deals at the pump in support of lifting the ban on self-serve.

Participating locations will lower the price of gas "by the amount that they would discount gasoline if they were in fact allowed to offer self-serve gasoline," said Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, C-store and Automotive Association (NJGCA), which represents more than 1,500 small business owners.

In addition to c-stores and gas stations, NJGCA's members also include car washes, tire vendors, car dealerships, automotive parts dealers, financial services companies, fuel distributors, lubricant vendors, business management companies and more.

The one-day discounts, which will be offered all day, are part of the association's effort to change state law and allow self-serve gas, reported New Jersey 101.5. The state remains the only one to fully ban drivers from pumping their own fuel. Oregon also largely bans the practice, but has allowed drivers to pump their own gas in certain rural areas since 2016.

The May 13 discounts are expected to range from 7 to 23 cents per gallon, reflecting the cost of labor to pump a gallon of gas as indicated by surveys of gas station owners.

Risolvato noted that the participating gas stations, which are associated with advocacy group Fuel Your Way NJ, will not make any profit from fuel sales during the discount period and may even lose money. However, he believes it is worth it to drive home the point that a self-serve option in New Jersey is important; not only would it allow gas stations to operate with fewer employees during a time of ongoing labor challenges, it would also save drivers money as they cope with record-high gas prices.

When drivers pull into one of the gas stations offering discounts, they will be asked to contact their legislators "to let them know that they support the idea of having a choice, the option at the pump, of pumping it themselves," Risolvato said.

In March, a bill titled the "Motorist Fueling Choice and Convenience Act" was introduced with bipartisan support by New Jersey assembly members Carol Murphy, Ned Thomson and Annette Chaparro, as Convenience Store News reported. Senate Minority Leader Steven Oroho signed on as a co-sponsor.

The bill would allow gas station operators to choose whether consumers can pump their own gas or not. Larger gas stations would still be required to offer full service during daytime hours.

"With the cost of gas prices continuing to rise, it's taking a bigger and bigger bite out of people's wallets," said Risalvato told the New Jersey Globe. "We want the public to know that one of the quickest ways we can reduce gas prices is to allow gas stations the ability to offer self-serve in New Jersey."

In addition to the one-day discounts, Fuel Your Way NJ will hold a press conference in Jersey City on the same day in order to draw attention to the issue.