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A filling station attendant or gas station attendant (also known as a gas jockey in the US and Canada[1][2]) is a worker at a full-service filling station who performs services other than accepting payment. Tasks usually include pumping fuel, cleaning windshields, and checking vehicle oil levels. Prior to the introduction of self-starting vehicle engines, attendants would also start vehicle engines by manually turning the crankshaft with a hand crank.

In the United States, gas jockeys were often tipped for their services,[3] but this is now rare as full-service stations are uncommon except in New Jersey, the city of Weymouth, Massachusetts, and the town of Huntington, New York, where retail customers are prohibited by law from pumping their own gasoline.

Filling station attendants are still employed at gas stations in many countries. In Finland, for example, filling station attendants are currently only used at Shell's service stations.[4]

History

Further information: Filling station § History of filling stations

Early filling stations were usually located at general stores, where gasoline would be put in buckets and funneled into vehicles. Most early stations were little more than a manually powered roadside pump operated by an attendant.

Decline

In the 1970s, two periods of gasoline shortages (1973 and 1979) caused higher fuel prices which in turn resulted in permanent closure of many full-service gas stations as consumers looked for pricing relief.[citation needed]

Current status

In most western countries today, full-service stations and their attendants are not common and are usually considered somewhat nostalgic.[5]

United States

In the United States, areas in red prohibit self-service

In New Jersey self-service fuel filling is illegal. It was banned in 1949 after lobbying by service station owners. Service stations only offer full service and "mini service". Proponents of the ban cite safety and jobs as reasons to keep the ban.

The State of Oregon banned self-service in 1951, but legalised it from 2018 in counties with 40,000 residents or fewer.[6] In 2020, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic Oregon temporarily allowed self-service statewide.[7] In August 2023, Oregon allowed fuel stations to provide a self-serve option to customers, up to half their pumps. Counties regarded as "rural" under the bill are not required to have attendants while those regarded as "urban" are required to maintain at least one attendant per station.[8]

The rural counties in Oregon under HB 2426 (2023) are the following: Baker, Clatsop, Crook, Curry, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Tillamook, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco, and Wheeler.

In the towns of Huntington, New York[9] and Weymouth, Massachusetts,[10] self-service gas stations are illegal, with all gas stations being full-service.

Brazil

In Brazil, self-service fuel filling is illegal, due to a federal law enacted in 2000.[11] The bill was proposed by Federal Deputy Aldo Rebelo, who claims it saved 300,000 fuel attendant jobs across the country.[12]

South Africa

In South Africa, self-service fuel filling is illegal. Concerns include job losses and the danger of drivers leaving their car.[13]

See also

References

  1. ^ "INQUINTE.CA | Saskatchewan gas jockey whose last name fuelled international craze dead at 82". inquinte.ca.
  2. ^ Crowe, Jonathan (April 11, 2015). "Life lessons from a former teenage gas jockey". CBC News.
  3. ^ "History of Gasoline". chevroncars.com.
  4. ^ Oletko haikaillut vanhan ajan palvelutankkausta? Nyt se on palannut! – Auto Bild (in Finnish)
  5. ^ Dave Brown (2006-06-05). "Old-style gas jockey still pumpin' strong". The Ottawa Citizen.
  6. ^ Jonah Engel Bromwich (2018-01-05). "New Jersey Is Last State to Insist at Gas Stations: Don't Touch That Pump". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Nigel Jaquiss (2020-04-24). "Oregon Fire Marshal Extends Self-Service Gas Throughout the State Until May 9". Willamette Week.
  8. ^ "House Bill 2426".
  9. ^ "Long Island Town May Finally Give Gas Station Owners Option Of Having Self-Service Pumps". December 4, 2019.
  10. ^ "Weymouth holds tight to 41-year ban on self-service gas pumps". April 26, 2019.
  11. ^ "Federal Law 9.956/2000".
  12. ^ Aldo Rebelo (2015-02-23). "Ministro Aldo Rebelo comenta artigo sobre baixo crescimento". Folha de S.Paulo.
  13. ^ "Is SA ready for DIY petrol stations?". www.iol.co.za.