If you want an example of just how inane the Internet can be, look no further than the recent articles, posts and comments that erupted following the rollout of Oregon's new law on pumping gas. In case you missed it, Oregon House Bill 2482 makes it possible for people in some of Oregon's most rural counties (Deschutes not included) to pump their own gas, and in a few other counties, for people to pump their own gas during nighttime hours. The bill passed without a single "no" vote in the House in March, and with just one "no" in the Senate in May.
The bill's passage demonstrates that lawmakers can, once in a while, come together to agree on an issue—even one that's as clearly contentious as pumping your own gas in Oregon.
One need only look to the Internet to see that outside the state capitol, this issue doesn't enjoy broad consensus.
Here's a brief sampling of the Facebook comments made by Oregonians this week, which caused the Internet commenters to erupt with scorn and commentary:
From the Source's Facebook feed:
"Who in their right mind wants to get out of their car, deal with a toxic substance, fight the elements, and not enjoy the interactions of the people who work these jobs? Going to the same station over the years has allowed me to become friends with some of those working there. Glad Bend is not changing, and those other states have just been brainwashed into thinking pumping your own gas is a good thing." – Randy McBride
A comment from an Oregonian on the Facebook feed of Medford TV station, KTVL:
"I've lived in this state all my life and I REFUSE to pump my own gas...This [is] a service only qualified people should perform."
And of course, the comments from non-Oregonians:
"It's official. Oregon is full of mentally defective, full grown children, incapable of the most mundane adult tasks."
Social media chatter can be entertaining, but let's break this down to its core, yet again, for those of you not in the know.
The original law banning pumping your own gas came about in 1951. It wasn't about Oregonians being incapable of pumping their own gas—though legislators did make mention of the fact that it made spills less likely, and made the entire experience more convenient for people, including seniors. But at its core, the original law was about creating jobs. According to OregonLive, the ban on self-serve means jobs for roughly 10,000 people. And where do people need jobs most? Eastern Oregon, unfortunately.
We just hope that this is the end of the march toward a more barbaric Oregon. While it is somewhat humorous to hear people go to bat for the "right" to pump your own gas, what they're really supporting is greater inconvenience, fewer working class jobs and car owners working for gas and oil companies in their spare time. Not a pretty picture.
And as a reminder, Benditos afraid of spillage, best get your gas in Bend or Redmond before heading out of town.
Counties where you can now pump your own gas:
Baker, Crook, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Jefferson, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Union, Wallowa, Wasco and Wheeler
Self serve between 6pm and 6am:
Clatsop, Curry and Tillamook