New Jersey: We Pump Fists, Not Gas

July 7th, 2011

From Freakonomics:

New Jersey has one of most wasteful restrictions in the Union: there is no self-service gasoline; all gas must be pumped by an attendant.  This wastes drivers’ time — it’s almost always quicker to pump gas oneself.  The labor of the attendants is thus devoted to generating economic waste and could be spent productively elsewhere rather than in promoting economic inefficiency.

Perhaps at one time the restriction was based, as they usually are, on health/safety, or perhaps on preventing pilferage.  But today, with credit-card pumps and few (no?) cases of people burning themselves pumping their own gas, the restriction has no rationale—other than protecting the attendants’ jobs.

I don’t mind pumping gas myself. In fact, it always takes longer to let someone else pump it for you. Try getting gas on the Jersey Turnpike on a busy weekend. The line will be 30 minutes long. Yet, New Jersey gas is still cheaper than New York Gas. But imagine if there was Self Service gas in NJ. That would be cheap!!!!

Well, you know what they say. In Jersey they don’t pump gas, they pump fists. It’s a Jersey Thing!