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NJ’s status as the only state requiring full serve gas is in jeopardy, says lawmaker

CHEESEQUAKE REST AREA, N.J. — It's a nearly 70-year-old requirement which, on cold days like those our region has had recently, allows motorists to stay in their cars, while somebody else pumps the gas.

As of January 1, however, New Jersey is the only state in the union which still requires that all gasoline pumping be full service. That could change if a state senator's proposed legislation gets adopted into law.

"If I want to pump my own gas, I should be able to get out of the car and pump my own gas," said State Senator Declan O'Scanlon of Monmouth County. "It'll be cheaper," he added.

"You're not going to save twenty cents a gallon, like some proponents say, that's an exaggeration, but eight [or] 10 cents a gallon" could be typical savings, according to O'Scanlon.

Despite the added cost for mandatory gas attendants, some motorists said that it's worth the price.

"It could kind of damage the economy," said Jared Klecan, from his driver's seat at the gas station here. "Some people," he added, "they need these jobs."

Some of the gas station attendants told PIX11 News that they value their jobs. Most New Jerseyans value the attendants as well, according to none other than one of the the state's biggest advocates for self serve -- Gov. Chris Christie. In a speech in 2016, the governor mentioned polls that showed that 78 percent of women in New Jersey, and 52 percent of men oppose self serve.

That means, however, that there are exceptions, among both men and women.

"A lot of times when I'm in New Jersey," said Mira Richland, a New York driver getting a fill up on her way to a New Jersey wedding, "and I'm sitting waiting, I do want to get out of my car and pump my own gas." She said that at night, if she's driving alone, she appreciates that New Jersey requires full serve.

Motorist James Millas said that he prefers that there be a choice between self serve and full serve. "For the people who don't know how to pump gas, as long as they would have the availability to have full service," he said, he'd support having a self service option, as well.

Sen. O'Scanlon said that he will try to get just that.

"I'm gonna introduce the legislation," O'Scanlon told PIX11 News. "I'm serious about it."

He said that he'll introduce a bill in the upcoming state senate term. However, the state senate president, Stephen Sweeney, has expressed interest in keeping the bill from reaching the floor. Sweeney has long been an advocate for mandatory full serve.