There's another media outlet that did something completely dumb and irresponsible. They ran a story questioning whether the gas station fire on Rt. 4 in Hackensack is proof that New Jersey drivers can't be trusted to handle self-serve. I'm not naming the outlet because there are a lot of good people who work there and they usually do quality stuff. This however falls flat.

The fire occurred at a Lukoil station when a driver, for unknown reasons, pulled away while the nozzle was still in their gas tank. It happened around 3pm Wednesday. As you can see in the video the pump was broken off its foundation and the fire was immediate. A station employee ran for a fire extinguisher and attempted to battle the blaze. It only was extinguished once the emergency cut off was activated, which I would think should have been done first.

Now this argument that somehow this offers evidence New Jersey drivers can't handle self-serve is beyond dumb. This was not a self-serve accident. This was a full-serve accident. So for everyone who argues full-serve is all about safety, how then did it occur? We don't know yet if the driver thought the attendant had already removed the nozzle, or if they just got somehow distracted. Or raged with impatience. What we do know is that the driver didn't pump this themselves. Had they been out of the car pumping their own gas, the likelihood of them driving away with the nozzle left in would have been much less. When you pump your own gas, it's hands on. You're out of the car. Away from the controls. You are aware of every step of the process. It's during full-serve that you have time to daydream, look at your texts, etc..

So to cheaply use this as proof New Jerseyans are too dumb to pump our own gas is a terrible argument. Perhaps a better argument is that this is why we need it. I have seen full-serve attendants not come back to a car after the pump clicks off for up to five minutes, leaving a driver potentially frustrated. I've seen attendants on gas station grounds smoking near the pumps. I've seen attendants not tell drivers to shut their engines off. And please let's stop calling it 'full-serve' when most never bother asking if you'd like your oil checked or squeegeeing your windshield. Hell, most don't even say hello to you, and half seem to be on their cell phones the entire transaction. If this is the 'luxury' stubborn status quo lovers speak of then no thanks, let me pump my own.


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