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Self-service gas: Why the ban was lifted and what it means for you

The Oregon Department of Energy said the gas station workforce has recently reduced by as much as 50% due to illness, childcare issues, and safety concerns according to the fuel industry.

Posted: Mar 30, 2020 6:44 PM
Updated: Mar 30, 2020 6:44 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- State leaders are sharing more information after lifting the ban on self-service gas.

Leaders with the Oregon Department of Energy said the temporary measure is not mandatory. They said it's meant to ensure gas stations can continue to operate while employees avoid face-to-face, hand-to-hand contact and apply social distancing practices.

Brad Neathery, the general manager at the ARCO on Gateway Street and Beltline, said they are giving customers the option to do self-service. He said attendants sanitize equipment after someone uses it on their own which is required by the state. 

"They wipe down the nozzles and the keypads as soon as the customer is finished filling their vehicle," Neathery said.

RELATED: OREGON LOOSENS SELF-SERVICE RESTRICTIONS FOR PUMPING GAS

The Oregon Department of Energy said the gas station workforce has recently reduced by as much as 50% due to illness, childcare issues, and safety concerns according to the fuel industry. Neathery said he hasn't had to start hiring more workers yet, but said it's just a matter of time.

"The applications aren't really rolling in so to speak," Neathery said. "We will need to hire people, and we hope we have applications for that."

The Oregon Department of Energy said unattended self-service will only happen if a gas station owner exhausts all staffing options. Those stations that do not have an attendant on hand are required to post safety signs for social distancing as well as instructions for how to operate a fuel pump.

Driver James Fisher said he's worried that pumping his own gas could just make this situation even worse if employees aren't vigilant.

"I have sanitizer with me; it's not a problem," Fisher said, "but a lot of people, it's a good way of transmitting the virus."

The lifting of the ban is set to last until April 11 but could extended. For more information, click here.

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